New York Judge rules Trump and his company engaged in fraud

Judge rules Trump committed fraud for YEARS in New York by inflating property prices in victory for Attorney General Letitia James’ $250million lawsuit

  • Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling came in Summary Judgment phase
  • AG Letitia James’ $250 million lawsuit continues to advance 
  • James found that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others 

A New York judge ruled former President Donald Trump and his companies engaged in fraud, in yet another legal setback for the former president as AG Letitia James’ $250 million civil lawsuit advances. 

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House, after prosecutors charged he inflated property valuations with lenders and diminished them with tax authorities.

The civil trial begins October and could run through the end of the year, as Trump continues to lead the GOP field for the Republican presidential nomination. 

The ruling Tuesday came in a civil lawsuit brought by James, even as Trump faces multiple criminal indictments in multiple jurisdictions related to his election overturn effort and other matters.

James found that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.

She said he boosted valuations by up to $2 billion, inflating the value of signature assets including the Mar-a-Lago club where he now resides and his Manhattan penthouse apartment at Trump Tower.  

The decision, days before the start of a non-jury trial in Attorney General Letitia James´ lawsuit, is the strongest repudiation yet of Trump´s carefully coiffed image as a wealthy and shrewd real estate mogul turned political powerhouse.

A New York judge ruled in summary judgment that former President Trump and his company engaged in Fraud over a period of years 

Beyond mere bragging about his riches, Trump, his company and key executives repeatedly lied about them on his annual financial statements, reaping rewards such as favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums, Engoron found.

Those tactics crossed a line and violated the law, the judge said, rejecting Trump’s contention that a disclaimer on the financial statements absolved him of any wrongdoing.

Manhattan prosecutors had looked into bringing a criminal case over the same conduct but declined to do so, leaving James to sue Trump and seek penalties that could disrupt his and his family´s ability to do business in the state.

Engoron’s ruling, in a phase of the case known as summary judgment, resolves the key claim in James’ lawsuit, but six others remain.

Trump has repeatedly attacked New York State AG Letitia James and accused her of bias against him

Engoron is slated to hold a non-jury trial starting Oct. 2 before deciding on those claims and any punishments he may impose. James is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York, his home state. The trial could last into December, Engoron has said.

Trump’s lawyers had asked the judge to throw out the case, which he denied. 

They contend that James wasn’t legally allowed to file the lawsuit because there isn’t any evidence that the public was harmed by Trump’s actions. They also argued that many of the allegations in the lawsuit were barred by the statute of limitations.

Trump has long accused James and other prosecutors coming after him of bias. 

The judgment came in a case where Trump once again delivered potentially harmful statements during a deposition.

Trump under questioning compared his golf and real estate empire to the Mona Lisa and other priceless art works.

Trump made the extraordinary claim while describing his decision to hand off control of his business to his adult sons Don Jr. and Eric during his term as president – with New York AG Letitia James sitting across from him in a Manhattan courthouse for a deposition.

‘We have the Mona Lisas of properties,’ Trump told the prosecuting attorney in the April deposition unsealed Wednesday.

Then he bragged about his golf course in Turnberry, Scotland. ‘I could sell that. That’s like selling a painting. A painting on a wall that sells for $250 million,’ he continued.

‘I have great assets,’ Trump gushed – raving about Mar-a-Lago as well as his property at 40 Wall Street, which he said is ‘the best location,’ he told prosecutor Kevin Wallace in James’ office.

Prosecutors claim he has jacked up his net worth by between $812 million and $2.2 billion every year over a decade. James argues Trump inflated his valuations when seeking lending. Trump’s lawyers are asking a judge to toss the suit, calling it a ‘crusade’ over long-ago loans that have been repaid.

‘You don’t have a case and you should drop this case,’ Trump told James.

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