N.Y. Attorney General Files $250M Fraud Suit Against Trump, Children, Company (Newsmax)
By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 21 September 2022 12:30 PM EDT
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday the state was filing suit against former President Donald Trump, his company, and family members for fraud.
James, speaking at a late-morning press conference, said New York was suing Trump, Trump Organization officials, and three of the former president's adult children — Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric — seeking at least $250 million in penalties for allegedly widespread fraud involving false financial statements related to the company.
James, a Democrat who campaigned on suing Trump, said her suit followed a "comprehensive three-year investigation" involving "interviews with 65 witnesses and the review of millions of documents."
"We're filing a lawsuit against Donald Trump for violating the law as part of his efforts to generate profits for himself, his family, and his company," James said.
"The complaint demonstrates that Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself, and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us."
Donald Trump's attorney, Alina Habba, released a statement following James' announcement.
"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. 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," Habba said.
"We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the attorney general's meritless claims."
James claimed Trump's children, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and organization controller Jeffrey McConney assisted the former president in the alleged crimes.
The lawsuit alleges that from 2011-2021, Trump and the Trump Organization knowingly and intentionally created more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets on his annual Statements of Financial Condition to defraud financial institutions.
"The Trump Organization repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise would have been available to the company to pay lower taxes, to satisfy continuing loan agreements, and to induce insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums," James said.
The attorney general said she was seeking penalties that included the banning of Trump and his children from serving as an officer with any company licensed in New York, and preventing Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into any state commercial real estate acquisition and from applying for loans from a New York institution for five years.
The state also seeks disgorgement of all financial benefits obtained through the alleged fraudulent practices, estimated to total $250 million.
She added her office is forwarding alleged federal criminal violations to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the IRS.
Trump last month said he refused to answer questions during an appearance before James' civil investigation into his family's business practices, citing his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
The former president has accused James of conducting a "with hunt" against him.