Moshe Lax, a real estate entrepreneur and one of Ivanka Trump’s former business partners in the diamond industry, is facing a lawsuit from the Justice Department accusing him of defrauding the government out of millions of dollars.
The suit seeks more than $60 million and alleges that Lax and his family engaged in 10 schemes to hide their assets from the IRS, according to Politico.
One of those schemes is Lax’s supposed transfer of about $21 million from Madison Avenue Diamonds from his father’s estate to a holding company, for which he received nothing in return. Trump helped run this business for years under the name Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.
The suit accuses Lax’s father of starting the schemes before he died in 2008 to help his heirs receive his fortune but not have to pay his unmet tax debts. Lax and his sister then kept the schemes going after their father’s death, according to the suit.
Lax introduced Trump to her husband Jared Kushner about 10 years ago and told at least one associate that he discussed finances with her father. He also attended the Trump campaign’s victory party on election night, which was invite only.
Trump’s team said she ended her licensing agreement with Lax prior to entering the White House. A spokesperson for her brand told Politico they would not go after Lax or Madison Avenue Diamonds for any outstanding debts.
These accusations against Lax are not entirely new. In 2014, Brooklyn investors Abe Mandel and Joseph Brunner accused him of using shell companies to hide his father’s fortune — along with trying to extort them to prevent having to pay back a loan.