The New York Attorney General on Wednesday accused former President Donald Trump, his three adult children, and the Trump Organization of a decade-long massive fraud that the former president used to enrich himself. filed a sweeping lawsuit, alleging that he was involved in
In the more than 200-page lawsuit, Democratic Attorney General Letitia James alleges the fraud affected every aspect of Trump’s business. According to the lawsuit, the Trump Organization deceived lenders, insurance companies and tax authorities by using misleading valuations to inflate the value of his property.
“These acts of fraud and misrepresentation are similar in nature and perpetrated by senior Trump Organization executives, as part of a common effort in their annual statements, to the highest levels of the Trump Organization, including Trump himself.” It was approved in the
Trump and his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, are named as defendants in the lawsuit. The former CFO of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, and another longtime company executive, Jeff McConney, were also named.
James said he believes he may have violated state and criminal law, and has referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service.
James is seeking $250 million in allegedly fraudulently obtained funds to permanently bar Trump and the children named in the lawsuit from serving on the boards of companies registered in New York State. She is also seeking to revoke the Trump Organization’s corporate certificate, which, if approved by a judge, could effectively force the company to cease operations in New York state. be.
Trump has previously called James a “renegade prosecutor” and said he was on a “vindictive and selfish fishing expedition.” The Trump Organization called her previous allegations “unfounded” and denied any wrongdoing.
Following Wednesday’s announcement, Trump attorney Alina Habba said in a statement to CNN: It is very clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory powers by snooping into transactions in which no wrongdoing has taken place at all. ”
Weisselberg’s attorney, Nicholas Gravante, declined to comment.
The civil lawsuit comes at a time when Trump is under legal pressure as prosecutors take investigative steps that bring them ever closer to his inner circle.
Trump faces a number of criminal investigations from federal and state prosecutors for the accuracy of his company’s financial statements, interference in the 2020 presidential election, and handling classified documents after leaving office. Mr Trump has denied wrongdoing.
James alleges that the former president and his company made “fraudulent, false and misleading representations” over a decade, notably “200 false and misleading valuations” of Trump assets. It emphasizes what is called
“The financial statements in question were issued annually. Each contained a significant number of fraudulent, false, and misleading representations regarding the numerous assets of the Trump Organization. , most of which played a role in certain transactions with financial institutions,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to James, Trump’s businesses produced yearly financial statements to submit to banks and other financial institutions. James said the statement showed the financial status of the Trump business, which the Trump organization relied on if it wanted to apply for a loan.
Each statement has been personally certified as accurate by Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. or Weisselberg, James said at a news conference in New York on Wednesday.
Trump “made it known” that he “wanted these statements to reflect his net worth,” James said, adding, “Mr Weisselberg and others are not aware of the fraudulent nature of these statements.” We were doing it every year in preparation,” he said.
“When asked about these meetings under oath as part of our deposition, both men, Mr. Trump and Mr. Weisselberg, exercised their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, He refused to answer,” James added.
“When Trump was asked under oath whether he continued to review and approve statements after taking office as president of the United States in 2017, Trump again exercised his Fifth Amendment privileges and said no. I refused,” James said.
The announcement is the latest development in a three-year investigation led by James into the finances of the Trump Organization.
In January, James’ office found “significant” evidence that the Trump Organization used false or misleading asset valuations in its financial statements to obtain loans, insurance and tax benefits. The following month, Trump’s longtime accountant resigned.
James, a former Trump fixer and personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before Congress that Trump boosted the value of certain assets to get loans and insurance, and others to get tax benefits. It launched an investigation into her in 2019 after claiming to have underestimated it.
In addition to the new fraud lawsuit, the Trump Organization is on trial next month for involvement in a 15-year tax evasion scheme, and its longtime chief financial officer has agreed to testify against the company.
Weisselberg, who served as the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer for decades, pleaded guilty in August to his role in a 15-year tax evasion scheme and will testify against Trump’s real estate firm as part of the deal. agreed. On trial.
In recent weeks, the Trump Organization has offered to settle to avoid lawsuits while denying any wrongdoing, but James’ office has made it clear that it is not interested in a deal.
In April, after a protracted legal battle to enforce subpoenas against Trump and his adult children’s depositions, attorneys at James’ office said they were nearing the end of the investigation and had not yet made a decision. said it needed Trump’s testimony.
Last month, Trump did not answer questions and asserted his Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination when he was ousted by the attorney general’s office. exercised its Fifth Amendment rights in response to more than 500 questions.
Trump and Eric Trump refused to answer questions, so if the case goes to trial, jurors can draw “unfavorable inferences” against them for failing to answer questions. If they are found to be responsible, it could result in a higher sentence against them or the company.
Both Ivanka Trump and Trump Jr. answered questions during the more than seven-hour interview, sources told CNN.
This story has been updated with additional details.