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On Wednesday, New York state Attorney General Letitia James filed a sweeping lawsuit against former President Donal Trump, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization.
James alleged that all parties were involved in an expansive fraud that lasted over a decade to enrich the former President.
Attorney General Letitia James’s lawsuit runs more than 200 pages alleging the fraud of touching all aspects of the Trump business, including its properties and golf courses.
The lawsuit states that the Trump Organization deceived lenders, insurers, and tax authorities by inflating the properties’ values with misleading appraisals.
During a new conference in New York, James spoke up about the fraud, saying:
“This conduct cannot be brushed aside and dismissed as some sort of good-faith mistake.”
“The statements of financial condition were greatly exaggerated, grossly inflated, objectively false, and therefore fraudulent and illegal.”
“And as a result of that, we are seeking relief, and Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, his family – they should all be held accountable.”
Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump are named as the defendants in the lawsuit.
Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and longtime company executive Jeff McConney were also named.
Attorney General Letitia James said she believes state and criminal laws were violated, referring the matter to the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service.
“These acts of fraud and misrepresentation were similar in nature, were committed by upper management at the Trump Organization as part of a common endeavor for each annual Statement, and were approved at the highest levels of the Trump Organization – including by Mr. Trump himself,” the lawsuit reads.
James is seeking $250 million in allegedly ill-gotten funds.
She is also looking to permanently bar Trump and the children involved in the lawsuit from serving as the director of a business registered in New York state.
In addition, James is seeking to cancel the Trump Organization’s corporate certificate.
If granted, it could effectively force the company to cease operations in New York state.
Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, responded to the Wednesday announcement with a statement.
“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda,” she said.
“It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place.”
The lawsuit comes as Trump is under increasing legal pressure with prosecutors taking investigative steps to move closer to his inner circle.
The former president is facing numerous criminal investigations from federal and state prosecutors, including:
- The accuracy of his company’s financial statements
- Interference in the 2020 presidential election
- His handling of classified documents after leaving office
Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Asset value allegations
According to the lawsuit, James highlighted “200 false and misleading valuations” of Trump’s assets.
“The financial statements in question were issued annually; each contained a significant number of fraudulent, false, and misleading representations about a great many of the Trump Organization’s assets; and most played a role in particular transactions with financial institutions,” the lawsuit reads.
“The number of grossly inflated asset values is staggering.”
According to James, Trump’s businesses prepared statements of financial condition annually to submit to banks and other financial institutions.
The statements also showed the financial position of the Trump businesses and were relied upon if the organization applied for loans.
James told reporters on Wednesday that each statement was personally verified as accurate by Trump, Trump Jr., and Weisselberg.
The lawsuit is the latest development in a three-year investigation led by James into the Trump Organization’s finances.
Earlier this year, James’ office said it found “significant” evidence that the organization used false or misleading asset valuations in its financial statements for loans, insurances, and tax benefits.
In February, Trump’s long-time accounting firm resigned.
Letitia James launched her investigation in 2019 after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney, testified before Congress, alleging that Trump inflated the value of certain assets to obtain loans and insurance.
In doing so, he undervalued others to gain tax benefits.
The Trump Organization is also going on trial next month on charges it was engaged in a 15-year tax fraud scheme.
The organization’s long-time chief financial officer agreed to testify against the company.
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