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Trump campaign used 'recurring' scheme to withdraw from supporters’ bank accounts: Report

File photo shows former US president Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Former president Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign deceived donors into making more contributions than they intended through a “recurring payment” scheme that automatically turned one-time payments into weekly donations, according to a report.

An investigation by The New York Times has found that starting in September, with only two months before the 2020 presidential election and amid a cash crunch, the Trump campaign set up weekly recurring donations as the default option for donors making contributions online.

The campaign’s online page would automatically check a box that would turn one-time donations into recurring payments, the report said.

Donors would have to manually uncheck the box to opt out, and the notice of recurring donations was allegedly included only in a fine-print statement, making it hard to see on the page confirming the contribution.

As the Election Day approached, according to the Times, the Trump campaign intensified its deception, adding a second prechecked box that doubled a donor’s payment.

The campaign allegedly distracted the donors from learning how to opt out of the automatic donation scheme through new lines of text in bold and capital letters on its page.

Soon after the Trump campaign implemented these deceptive practices, many supporters, including retirees and military veterans, filed fraud complaints with their banks and credit card companies, reporting unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts.

One such individual, as reported by the Times, was Stacy Blatt, a 63-year-old patient in hospice care, whose single $500 contribution to the Trump campaign automatically increased to $3,000.

“It was a big sum for a 63-year-old battling cancer and living in Kansas City on less than $1,000 per month. But that single contribution — federal records show it was his first ever — quickly multiplied,” the Times said.

“Another $500 was withdrawn the next day, then $500 the next week and every week through mid-October, without his knowledge — until Mr. Blatt’s bank account had been depleted and frozen,” it added.

The scam prompted more than one in ten Trump donors to demand refunds for the money they had donatd to the campaign.

The former president continued to receive money from his supporters after Election Day, which he claimed would be used to fight widespread voter fraud in several states.

The campaign allegedly used tens of millions of dollars from Trump’s “Stop the Steal” efforts to help cover the refunds that it had to issue to some donors, according to the Times.

A previous report in February indicated that $2.8 million in money donated to the Trump campaign was funneled into the Trump Organization to settle debts.

Throughout his business career, Trump has frequently been accused of using less than honest practices to defraud unwitting individuals, one of the most infamous cases being the Trump University scam, which resulted in a multimillion-dollar settlement.

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