New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday that the state is suing former president Donald Trump and the Trump Organization for fraud, alleging that they enriched themselves through “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations.”
Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, as well as former Trump Organization executives Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey Mcconney, and the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, are also named as defendants.
The complaint alleges that the defendants falsified business records, issued false financial statements, committed insurance fraud, and engaged in conspiracy to commit these violations, James said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to pay lower taxes to satisfy continuing loan agreements, and to induce insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums,” James said.
The New York Attorney General is seeking to recover at least $250 million that the defendants allegedly obtained through fraud. The office is also asking that Trump, Donald Jr, Ivanka, and Eric be permanently barred from “serving as an officer or director in any corporation or similar entity registered and/or licensed in New York,” and for Trump and the Trump Organization to be prohibited from entering into any real estate acquisitions in New York for five years.
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that James, who is running for reelection this fall, rejected a settlement offer from Trump’s lawyers to resolve her office’s multiyear investigation into the Trump Organization.
James’s investigation into the former president’s company has been focused on whether the Trump organization committed financial fraud and misled investors and tax authorities by purposefully manipulating the value of real estate holdings and assets in order to obtain large loans and reduce tax bills.
In a court filing published in January, she wrote that the Trump Organization’s financial statements “misstated objective facts, like the size of Mr. Trump’s Trump Tower Penthouse.”
The document added that the organization also miscategorized assets, failed to use fundamental techniques of valuation, and failed to advise that certain valuation amounts were inflated. “It appears that the valuations in the statements were generally inflated as part of a pattern to suggest that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than it otherwise would have appeared,” it reads.
Over the summer, Trump himself testified before a grand jury, but he refused to answer many questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination over and over again during the 4-hour deposition.
When it comes to the accusations of financial fraud, Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
If this case goes to trial and the former president loses, a judge could theoretically impose financial penalties and restrict his business operations in New York, according to the New York Times.
In addition to this investigation, the Trump Organization is set to go on trial in October for criminal tax charges in Manhattan. Trump is not accused of wrongdoing in the tax case, but financial penalties to the company are possible depending on the outcome. Over the summer, longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion charges.
On top of this, the former president’s actions continue to be scrutinized as part of three different criminal investigations. Trump is currently being investigated by authorities in Georgia for potential criminal election interference, as well as at the federal level, where they are investigating his mishandling of classified documents under the Presidential Records Act. He is also facing the possibilities of consequences over the Capitol riot and his alleged election interference.
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