New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a $250 million lawsuit Wednesday against former President Donald Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization accusing them of defrauding investors.
The Manhattan DA tried to get Trump and his family criminally in these charges but that case ended with no charges.
“Mr. Trump made known through Mr. Weisselberg that he wanted his net worth on the Statements to increase — a desire Mr. Weisselberg and others carried out year after year in their fraudulent preparation of the Statements,” the lawsuit said. “The scheme to inflate Mr. Trump’s net worth also remained consistent year after year.”
“As a result, using values for the golf course ranging between $123 million and $126.8 million based on employing the Fixed Asset Scheme is materially false and misleading; the golf course should have been valued at a much lower figure,” the attorney general’s suit said.
“The magnitude of financial benefit derived by Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization by means of these fraudulent and misleading submissions was considerable,” the suit said.
According to NBC:
James’ office seeks approximately $250 million in penalties. The suit alleges more than 200 instances of fraud over 10 years.
James alleges years of large-scale fraud, saying the Trump Organization inflated the values of its properties in seeking bank loans or deflated them to pay lower taxes. Her office has said in court filings that it “uncovered substantial evidence establishing numerous misrepresentations” in the company’s financial statements to banks, insurers and the IRS.
James’ announcement follows months of efforts by the former president and his children, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump, to avoid testifying and turning over business documents.
According to ABC:
Among other allegations, the suit claims that the former president’s Florida estate and golf resort, Mar-a-Lago, was valued as high as $739 million, but should have been valued at around one-tenth that amount, at $75 million.
The suit says that higher valuation was “based on the false premise that it was unrestricted property and could be developed for residential use even though Mr. Trump himself signed deeds donating his residential development rights and sharply restricting changes to the property.”
James is referring her findings to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who could possibly open a criminal investigation into bank fraud, according to a footnote in the lawsuit.
Through “persistent and repeated business fraud,” the Trumps convinced banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than deserved, according to the lawsuit, which named the former president, three of his adult children, the company, and two of its executives, Allan Weisselberg and Jeff McConney.