CHICAGO (CBS) — President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen illegally hid millions of dollars in income he received in a financial arrangement with a Chicago taxi cab operator, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Federal prosecutors in New York recommend a “substantial” prison sentence for Cohen, but the government is recommending Cohen get up to five years in prison for his crimes.
Two sentencing memos pertaining to Cohen came down Friday — one from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the other from New York’s U.S. Attorney. That second memo brings up Chicago and outlines millions Cohen made from taxi-related loans but never disclosed.
Chicago’s taxi medallions, even with ride sharing, are urban gold. They are required to legally drive a cab in the city. Cohen owns more than a dozen medallions. According to the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo, Cohen made millions off the medallions by offering loans to a Chicago taxicab operator who leased them. He is now accused of failure to pay taxes on the $2.4 million in interest he made off those loans.
“And frankly it adds on to the jail sentence that he would’ve got from everything else because he didn’t pay his taxes on the Chicago taxi connection,” said CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller.
The family to which Cohen loaned those millions also owns several units in a River North high rise, according to documents. Profits from those loans date back to 2012.
The government states Cohen evaded similar tax payments on more than $1 million he made off New York’s cab business, too.
The sentencing memo also lists Cohen’s other crimes, including illegal campaign contributions and attempts to influence the 2016 election for his then client “individual 1,” or President Donald Trump.
Those cases involve pre-election payoffs and attempts to suppress Trump’s affairs with adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. About his cooperation the government stated “Cohen repeated declined to provide full information about the scope of any additional criminal conduct.”
“Michael Cohen did not want to be forthcoming with the government, that he held back on things,” said Miller.
Miller says the sentencing memo from Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes one thing clear — Cohen kept Russian lines of communication open well into the election.
“And now this document today kind of corroborates the fact that there were discussions between Michael Cohen and Russian representatives with “individual 1” knowing about it.
States owed unpaid tax revenue could choose to go after those dollars, Miller said.
Cohen will be sentenced next week.