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Minnesota student tried to access Trump tax records before 2016 election

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

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.

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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."

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