Federal prosecutors charge IRS agent with leaking Michael Cohen’s banking records
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Federal prosecutors charge IRS agent with leaking Michael Cohen’s banking records

Federal prosecutors on Thursday unsealed a criminal complaint against John Fry, an employee at the Internal Revenue Service, for unlawful disclosure of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) related to Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for Donald Trump.

The complaint includes a detailed affidavit by Linda Cieslak, Special Agent of the US Department of Treasury. In the affidavit, Cieslak explains there is probable cause to believe that Fry made illegal disclosures after he used his work computer on May 4, 2018.

According to access records, Fry downloaded five SARs related to suspicious activities involving Cohen’s company Essential Consultants. One of these SARs detailed suspicious credits, which cumulatively totaled over $1 million and included payments from Korea Aerospace Industries, AT&T, Novartis Investments and Columbus Nova. Another SAR discussed potentially illegal financial transactions conducted “by Michael Cohen, during 2016 and 2017, in Singapore, Hungary, Malaysia, Canada, Taiwan, Kenya, and Israel.”

After downloading these SARs, phone records indicate that Fry contacted Michael Avenatti, an attorney who had been representing Stormy Daniels since March 2018 in her suit to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement with Trump. Fry then attempted additional searches on his computer but was stymied due to restricted access.

Four days later, Avenatti released a dossier that included Cohen’s and Essential Consultants’ banking information on Twitter. The unauthorized disclosures of SARs also appeared in the Washington Post and the New York Times on the same day.

On November 26, 2018, Fry confessed to providing the SARs to Avenatti and verifying the information with a reporter.