New York AG sues Trump, his kids, and his business for fraud

71

New York AG sues Trump, his kids, and his business for fraud, On Wednesday, the attorney general of New York filed a massive lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization, saying that they were complicit in a gigantic fraud that enriched Trump over more than a decade.

Democrat Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit that over 200 pages, claiming fraud affected every facet of the Trump organization. The Trump Organization is accused in a case of utilizing inflated assessments to fool lenders, insurers, and tax officials into giving Trump more money than they were entitled to.

This behavior “cannot be brushed off and regarded as some sort of good-faith mistake,” James said at a press conference in New York.

She said the financial statements were dishonest and illegal because they were “greatly exaggerated, outrageously inflated, manifestly false.” “And because of that, we’re trying to get some relief, and Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, his family — everyone associated with that business ought to be held accountable.”

The complaint names Trump and his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, as defendants. Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and another veteran Trump Organization official, Jeff McConney, are also mentioned.

James has informed the US attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service that she has concerns that state and criminal laws may have been broken.

In response to a request for comment, the US attorney’s office said nothing.

The lawsuit claims that Mr. Trump and other high-ranking officials of the Trump Organization “authorized” “identical acts of fraud and deceit” for each annual Statement.

James is suing for $250 million in “ill-gotten gains” and wants Trump and his children to be permanently disqualified from acting as the director of any company based in New York. She is also requesting the court revoke the Trump Organization’s corporate certificate, which would effectively shut down the business in New York.

Formerly, Trump referred to James as a “renegade prosecutor” engaged in a “vindictive and self-serving fishing expedition.” The Trump Organization denied wrongdoing and termed her earlier charges “baseless.”

Trump attorney Alina Habba sent a statement to CNN in response to Wednesday’s news, saying, “Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law — rather, it is exclusively focused on pushing the Attorney General’s political agenda.” The Attorney General’s Office has overstepped its bounds by investigating a transaction in which no crime has occurred.

A three-year probe

The announcement follows James’s three-year inquiry of the Trump Organization’s finances.

James’ office said in January that it had found “substantial” evidence that the Trump Organization had used inflated or deceptive asset appraisals in its financial statements to acquire financing, insurance, and tax breaks illegally. Later that month, Trump’s long-time accounting company announced its resignation.

After Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress in 2019 that Trump had overstated the value of certain assets to obtain loans and insurance and discounted others to gain tax benefits, James initiated her inquiry.

The Trump Organization is facing a new fraud case and claims it engaged in a tax fraud scheme lasting 15 years, with the company’s long-time chief financial officer agreeing to testify against the firm at trial next month.

Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pled guilty in August for his part in a 15-year tax fraud scheme and promised to testify against Trump’s real estate company as part of the deal.

According to those with knowledge of the situation, in recent weeks, the Trump Organization proposed a settlement to avoid the lawsuit while still denying liability. However, James’ office clarified that it was not interested in a deal.

The office of the attorney general deposed family members.

A lengthy legal battle ensued in April to execute subpoenas for Trump and his adult children’s depositions, with lawyers from James’ office claiming they were nearing the end of the inquiry and needed Trump’s testimony before making a decision.

Last month, when deposed by the attorney general’s office, Trump refused to answer questions and used the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination. In response to almost 500 questions in 2020, Eric Trump, who manages the company daily, also claimed the Fifth Amendment protection.

Donald Trump and his son Eric Trump have refused to testify, which might be used as an “adverse inference” against them in court. If they or the firm are held accountable, the resulting judgment could be more significant.

CNN sources said they spoke with Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. for more than seven hours.

James mentioned during her press conference that both Trump and Weisselberg claimed the Fifth Amendment protected them.

Under oath on Wednesday, James said, “Mr. Trump again cited his Fifth Amendment privilege and refused to answer when asked if he, Mr. Trump, continued to review and approve the statements after becoming president of the United States in 2017.”