New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil fraud lawsuit today against former President Donald Trump based upon a series of lies designed to obtain loans and evade tax liabilities.
James is accusing the former president, three of his adult children plus executives at his company of flagrantly manipulating property valuations to deceive lenders, insurance brokers and tax authorities into giving them better rates on bank loans and insurance policies and to reduce their tax liability.
Trump and his co-conspirators “derived more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets” over the course of a decade, according to the complaint.
According to court records, the defendants are Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Allen Weisselberg, Jeffrey McConney, The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, The Trump Organization, Inc., and other businesses associated with the defeated former commander in chief.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L Bragg, Jr. announced that Weisselberg, the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization and an employee of the Trump Corporation, entered a guilty plea for devising and operating a 15-year scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities, evading payment of taxes due on $1.76 million in unreported income.
That was the culmination of a case that Bragg is widely perceived as having blown when he declined to indict the former president soon after taking office based on evidence gathered under his predecessor.
Attorney Mark Pomerantz said that Trump is “guilty of numerous felony violations” and that it was a major “failure of justice” not to hold him accountable. “The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes—he did.”
Pomerantz and the other prosecutor leading the criminal investigation of Trump, Carey Dunne, resigned from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in protest of Bragg’s inaction.
The lawsuit alleges that Donald Trump, with the help of his children Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, and senior executives at the Trump Organization, falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to satisfy continuing loan covenants, to induce insurers to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums, and to gain tax benefits, among other things.
From 2011-2021, Trump and his business entities knowingly and intentionally created more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets on his annual Statements of Financial Condition to defraud financial institutions.
This conduct was in violation of New York Executive Law 63(12), which gives the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) special and broad powers to go after persistent and repeated fraud and illegality, which in this case includes violating other state laws prohibiting the submission of false financial statements, the falsification of business records, and the commission of insurance fraud.
“As a consequence of these violations, OAG is seeking, among other relief, to: 1) permanently bar Mr. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York state; 2) bar Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into any New York real estate acquisitions for five years; 3) award disgorgement of all financial benefits obtained through the persistent fraudulent practices, estimated to total $250 million,” said a statement from the New York Attorney General, which has previously won lawsuits barring Trump from engaging in charitable activities.
In conjunction with the lawsuit, OAG has referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for criminal investigation.
“For too long, powerful, wealthy people in this country have operated as if the rules do not apply to them. Donald Trump stands out as among the most egregious examples of this misconduct,” said James. “With the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system. In fact, the very foundation of his purported net worth is rooted in incredible fraud and illegality. Mr. Trump thought he could get away with the art of the steal, but today, that conduct ends. There are not two sets of laws for people in this country; we must hold former presidents to the same standards as everyday Americans. I will continue to ensure that no one is able to evade the law, because no one is above it.”
The FBI has recovered more than 300 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago this year, according to government court filings, after months of negotiations with advisers to former president Donald Trump, a subpoena and a court-approved search. Trump’s attorney Ron Fischetti said the former president invoked his Fifth Amendment right more than 440 times during his deposition