New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a widespread lawsuit against Donald Trump, his children, and his business partners at the Trump Organization.
James accused Trump committing fraud by inflating the value of his real estate assets by billions of dollars, including his apartment in New York City and his buildings on Wall Street and Park Avenue.
In addition to Trump, James also named Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, and another Trump Organization executive as co-defendants.
The Attorney General said by inflating the value of his assets, Trump violated several state and federal criminal laws, including falsifying business records, falsifying financial statements, insurance fraud, and bank fraud.
Trump certified his more than 200 false or misleading asset evaluations over a period of ten years, the attorney general’s suit claims.
Ten years ago, an outside bank appraisal of Trump’s building at 40 Wall Street found the property to be worth about $200million.
The Trump Organization proceeded to officially list the property as worth over $500million, and claimed the outside organization gave them that number.
According to James, Trump used these valuations to obtain favorable deals, including lower interest rates and lower premiums.
‘He wanted his net worth reflected on the statements to increase – a desire Mr Weisselberg carried out year after year,’ James said.
As an example, James used the case of Trump’s triplex apartment in Manhattan.
‘Trump said his apartment was 30,000 square feet. In reality, the apartment was only 11,000 square feet,’ James said.
In 2015 and 2016, Trump listed the value of his apartment as $327million, based on the fraudulent size. ‘No apartment in New York City has ever sold for that amount,’ James said.
James is seeking to bar the defendants from running a business or serving as officers or directors of a company in New York State again.
The Attorney General’s Office has also referred its investigation’s findings to federal prosecutors to potentially file criminal charges.
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