An analyst with the IRS has been charged by federal prosecutors for illegally disclosing confidential reports about Michael Cohen’s bank records. They revealed that President Donald Trump’s former lawyer had sought to profit from his proximity to the White House, according to a complaint unsealed on Thursday.
John C. Fry is the analyst who was charged with the unauthorized disclosure of a document called a suspicious activity report, which banks file when they review transactions that raise red flags.
The Justice Department was investigating the leak last year of the confidential reports related to Cohen’s banking activity, according to CNN.
Fry, an investigative analyst with the IRS’s law enforcement arm, is accused of turning over the reports in the spring of 2018 to an attorney, Michael Avenatti. He also confirmed confidential banking information in them to a reporter for The New Yorker, according to the complaint, which was filed under seal earlier this month.
Fry appeared before US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, which charged Fry, and was released on a $50,000 bond.
Fry, who works in the IRS’ San Francisco office, accessed and downloaded in May of 2018 five suspicious activity reports connected to Cohen, according to the complaint. Those reports contained information about a bank account opened for Essential Consultants LLC, a shell company Cohen created, and detailed “numerous suspicious payments” from a company linked to a Russian oligarch, pharmaceutical giant Novartis, AT&T — which owns CNN — and others.
Fry also called a reporter at The New Yorker, who isn’t named in the complaint but, based on the description of the reporter’s work, appears to be Ronan Farrow. After weeks of WhatsApp messages between Fry and the reporter, Farrow published a story that quoted a “law enforcement officer” responsible for the leak of Cohen’s banking information as saying he did so because he became alarmed that he was unable to find two of the reports on Cohen.
Fry is scheduled for a preliminary hearing or arraignment on March 13, according to the US attorney’s office.