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Latest York sues Donald Trump, Trump Organization for fraud

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Latest York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday sued former President Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, three of his adult children and others for allegedly widespread fraud involving years’ value of false financial statements related to the corporate’s business.

The 220-page civil lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court seeks a minimum of $250 million in damages.

It also seeks to permanently bar Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump from serving as an officer of an organization in Latest York, and permanently prohibit the Trump corporations named within the suit from doing business in Latest York state.

James said she has asked federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the IRS to research Trump for possible federal crimes. She said that evidence obtained during her three-year civil probe of Trump indicated possible crimes of bank fraud and making false statements to financial institutions.

James said Trump massively overstated the values of his assets in statements to banks, insurance firms and the IRS to acquire more favorable loan and insurance terms for his company, in addition to to lower its tax obligations.

“Trump falsely inflated his net value by billions of dollars,” James said at a news conference, where she announced she is going to seek to bar Trump and his company from acquiring any Latest York real estate for five years, and bar them from applying for loans from banks charted within the state for a similar time frame.

“For too long, powerful, wealthy people on this country have operated as if the foundations don’t apply to them,” she said in a press release. “Donald Trump stands out as amongst probably the most egregious examples of this misconduct. With the assistance of his children and senior executives on the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net value by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system.”

The suit alleges that “the variety of grossly inflated asset values is staggering, affecting most if not all the real estate holdings in any given 12 months.”

“All told, Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, and the opposite Defendants, as a part of a repeated pattern and customary scheme, derived greater than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets included within the 11 Statements covering 2011 through 2021,” the criticism says.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump speaks in support of candidates Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz during a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, September 3, 2022.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

The suit says that Trump’s personal financial statements “for the period 2011 through 2021 were fraudulent and misleading in each their composition and presentation.”

James said that Trump had falsely claimed that his apartment in Manhattan was greater than triple its actual size as a part of the alleged fraud.

And the suit says Trump valued his Mar-a-Lago club property in Palm Beach, Florida, on the false premise that it sat on unrestricted property and could possibly be developed for residential use, though he allegedly knew that asset was subject to a slew of tight restrictions.

Mar-a-Lago “generated lower than $25 million in annual revenue,” James said. “It must have been valued at about $75 million, but it surely was valued at $739 million.”

The suit says that despite claims on the contrary by the Trump Organization to 3rd parties, no professionals outside the corporate were retained to organize statements of Trump’s financial condition. Those statements included claims in regards to the value of varied real estate assets that were used to acquire loans and insurance coverage.

“To the extent Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization received any advice from outside professionals that had any bearing on the best way to approach valuing the assets, they routinely ignored or contradicted such advice,” the suit said.

James pointed to a Manhattan property listed within the lawsuit, 40 Wall St., for instance of that.

She said that the Trump Organization and Trump received appraisals from a bank calculating the worth of that property at $200 million as of Aug. 1, 2010, and $220 million as of November 1, 2012.

But in Trump’s 2011 Statement of Financial Condition, 40 Wall St. was listed as having a price of $524 million. That valuation then increased to $527 million in Trump’s 2012 statement and to $530 million within the 2013 statement, or “greater than twice the worth calculated by the ‘professionals,'” the suit said

Along with the Trumps, the defendants within the suit include Allen Weisselberg, who acted for years as chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.

Each Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were criminally charged last 12 months by the Manhattan district attorney’s office for an alleged scheme to avoid paying taxes on portions of the compensation given to company executives, amongst them Weisselberg.

Other defendants within the suit include Weisselberg’s lieutenant, Jeffrey McConney, in addition to several Trump corporations, amongst them ones that own properties in Manhattan, Westchester County, Latest York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The seven-count suit alleges persistent and repeated fraud; falsifying business records; conspiracy to falsify business records; issuing false financial statements; conspiracy to falsify false financial statements; insurance fraud; and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on James’ criminal referral about Trump to that office.

Trump for years has blasted James for investigating his business, saying the Democratic attorney general was motivated by political animus against a Republican former president.

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“One other Witch Hunt by a racist Attorney General, Letitia James,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, on Wednesday. Trump is white and James is Black.

“I never thought this case could be brought — until I saw her really bad poll numbers,” Trump wrote, referring to James’ reelection race. “She is a fraud who campaigned on a ‘get Trump’ platform, despite the incontrovertible fact that the town is considered one of the crime and murder disasters of the world under her watch!”

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, in a press release Wednesday, said, “Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – reasonably, it’s solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda.”

“It’s abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place,” Habba said.

“We’re confident that our judicial system won’t stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we sit up for defending our client against every considered one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”

James’ office interviewed greater than 65 witnesses and reviewed tens of millions of documents a part of the investigation, the lawsuit said.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has been conducting a criminal investigation of Trump and his company that mirrors in some ways the allegations made by James in her lawsuit.

However the DA’s office has not lodged any criminal charges to this point, and because the starting of this 12 months has appeared unlikely to accomplish that.

After the attorney general’s news conference,  DA Alvin Bragg said in a press release, “Our criminal investigation concerning former President Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, and its leadership is energetic and ongoing.”

Read the lawsuit against Trump and others here.

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