Charles Littlejohn, sentenced to five years in prison for leaking Donald Trump‘s tax returns, employed a “sophisticated, detailed plan” to avoid detection while secretly downloading the data from an IRS database. Littlejohn, a former IRS contractor, stole sensitive tax information from thousands of wealthy individuals. He exploited a loophole by uploading the data to a private website he controlled and then downloaded it on his personal computer. Prosecutors highlighted his calculated steps to evade detection, including the use of virtual machines and a password-protected data storage device.
During his sentencing, Littlejohn expressed acting out of a “sincere misguided belief” but acknowledged the potential consequences. Prosecutors revealed that he joined the IRS contractor firm in 2017 with the goal of accessing taxpayer information on Trump, meticulously plotting to minimize the risk of detection. His criminal activities expanded, culminating in accessing and disclosing IRS data associated with thousands of wealthy individuals in 2020. The judge characterized Littlejohn’s actions as “the biggest heist in IRS history” and compared it to the January 6 insurrection, stating it was an attack on constitutional democracy.
The prosecution emphasized Littlejohn’s careful planning to avoid detection by using generalized search parameters, virtual machines, and mailing IRS data on a password-protected device to a news organization. He waited until November 2018 to upload Trump’s tax returns to his private website, eventually disclosing the information to news outlets. The judge, Ana Reyes, handed down the maximum 60-month sentence, condemning Littlejohn’s actions and stating they were an attack on the constitutional democracy similar to the January 6 insurrection.