The Slatest

Report: Michael Cohen Under Investigation for Bank Fraud Over $20 Million in Loans

Michael Cohen walks on a New York City street in front of a yellow taxi cab.
Michael Cohen on July 27, 2018 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Federal authorities are in a final stage of their investigation into Michael Cohen and might file charges by the end of August related to bank and tax fraud, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, is reportedly under particular scrutiny for more than $20 million in loans obtained in 2014 by taxi businesses owned by him and his family. Sources familiar with the investigation told the Times that those loans had been a key part of the warrant that was used in the April raid of Cohen’s home and office and that Cohen is suspected of misrepresenting the value of the assets he used as collateral—taxi medallions, which are permits needed to operate taxis in New York City—in order to obtain the loans. Authorities are also investigating whether he properly reported the income from the taxi medallions on his taxes.

Separately, investigators are still also looking into whether Cohen violated campaign finance laws through his role in arranging a payment to Stormy Daniels. If the lawyer is found to have also planned a payment with American Media Inc. to have it buy a story about Karen McDougal’s affair with Trump in order to kill the story, that could also amount to an illegal campaign contribution.

Although it is late in the investigation, Cohen could still plead guilty and avoid an indictment. He has indicated in the past he would cooperate with prosecutors, possibly providing information to the special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign.

According to the Times, if prosecutors do not file charges against Cohen by the end of August, they will likely hold off to file until after the midterm elections, to avoid influencing the elections.