Minnesota student tried to access Trump tax records before 2016 election

The 22-year-old has pleaded guilty to federal crimes.
Publish date:

A college student originally from Minnesota has pleaded guilty to illegally attempting to access now President Donald Trump's tax record.

Justin Hiemstra, 22, of St. Paul Park, entered the plea at a district court in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, admitting to computer fraud after he attempted to obtain Trump's tax records prior to the 2016 election.

Hiemstra, a student at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and another student used computers at the school's computer lab and the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) website to illegally access the IRS returns.

He opened a false FAFSA application in the name of a Trump family member, and when they found someone else had already obtained a username and password for Trump, applied to reset the password.

After answering a series of challenge questions to verify Trump's identity, Hiemstra was able to reset the password.

He then attempted to use Trump's personal information, including his date of birth and social security number, to import the President's federal tax information into the FAFSA account.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania's East District says this attempt failed however.

The subject of President Trump's tax returns became a major talking point prior to the 2016 election, with Trump claiming he could not release them – as has been the custom for presidential candidates – because they were under audit.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

Almost three years later, they have still not been released, though subsequent investigations by the New York Times have alleged he suffered huge losses during his business career, as well as being involved in "suspect" tax schemes.

"No matter what you think about the President’s tax returns, clearly this kind of illegal activity cannot be tolerated or condoned," said U.S. Attorney William McSwain.

"Unauthorized or false attempts to obtain any citizen’s IRS filings are a serious violation of privacy rights and a federal crime, and there’s nothing funny about it.

"Now this defendant is being held accountable for his actions, as he should be."

Next Up


Eagan-based Villaume Industries pays $90K fine in gender discrimination case

After the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found the company refused to hire women, Villaume committed to reforms


11 more people charged in massive magazine scam plead guilty

In total, 63 people from across the U.S. were charged in what prosecutors called the "largest elder fraud scheme in the nation."

Alex Stalock

Wild goalie Alex Stalock claimed off waivers by Oilers

The South St. Paul native will be heading to Edmonton.

Mortensen becker-finn

Shakopee GOPer posts DFL lawmaker's personal cell number on Facebook

Rep. Erik Mortensen has been accused of 'doxxing' Twin Cities lawmaker Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn.

derek chauvin

Minneapolis scraps plan to pay 'influencers' to share information during Chauvin trial

The plan to pay influencers to share city-approved messages during the trials of the officers charged in George Floyd's death drew criticism.


Toddler called 911 and said 'baby' was dead, turned out to be her doll

We're checking into whether the doll is named 'Chucky.'

Target Center

NCAA Women's Final Four 2022 will be held in Minneapolis

The NCAA unveiled the logo for the 2022 Final Four on Monday.


As golf season approaches, book your round now at Dacotah Ridge GC

The stunning course is designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones.


Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run in St. Paul Sunday evening

The incident occurred near the intersection of Phalen Boulevard and Atlantic Street.


Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 4.39.40 PM

What did President Trump say during his Minnesota visit?

The president spent a couple of hours in Burnsville this afternoon.

Restaurant owner confined to his home for a year over tax fraud

The St. Louis Park restaurateur pleaded guilty to dozens of charges.

President Donald Trump is coming to Minnesota on Monday

He'll be here to tout his tax bill on tax filing deadline day.

What to know about President Trump's visit to Minnesota

The president will be in Rochester this afternoon.

White House: You'll still get your tax refund despite shutdown

There are fears the weeks-long government shutdown could impact Americans' IRS refunds.

Reps. Angie Craig, Dean Phillips join calls for Trump impeachment inquiry

The president is under pressure for a phone call with Ukrainian officials.

President Donald Trump announces another Minnesota visit

He was in Duluth in June, this time it's Rochester.

Live updates: What President Trump is saying on his trip to Minnesota

We'll be covering the president's rally in Rochester, which starts at 6:30 p.m.