New York Attorney General, Letitia James has sued former President Donald Trump, three of his children, the Trump Organisation and others for fraud.
Trump and his children were allegedly involved in widespread fraud involving years’ worth of false financial statements related to the company’s business.
The 220-page civil lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday seeks at least $250 million in damages.
And it also seeks to permanently bar Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump from serving as an officer of a company in New York, and permanently prohibit the Trump companies named in the suit from doing business in New York State, CNBC reports.
James also said she was referring evidence obtained in the course of a three-year investigation to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, as well as to the Internal Revenue Service.
According to her, she believed her civil investigation exposed violations of federal criminal laws.
James said Trump massively overstated the values of his assets in statements to banks, insurance companies and the IRS to obtain more favorable loans and insurance terms for his company, as well as to lower its tax obligations.
“Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars,” James said at a press conference.
“For too long, powerful, wealthy people in this country have operated as if the rules do not apply to them,” she said in a statement.
“Donald Trump stands out as among the most egregious examples of this misconduct. With the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system.”
The suit alleges that “the number of grossly inflated asset values is staggering, affecting most if not all of the real estate holdings in any given year.”
“All told, Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, and the other Defendants, as part of a repeated pattern and common scheme, derived more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets included in the 11 Statements covering 2011 through 2021.”
The complaint said Trump’s personal financial statements “for the period 2011 through 2021 were fraudulent and misleading in both their composition and presentation.”
James said Trump had falsely claimed that his apartment in Manhattan was more than triple its actual size as part of the 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 be developed for residential use, even though he allegedly knew that asset was subject to a slew of tight restrictions.
Mar-a-Lago “generated less than $25 million in annual revenue,” James said. “It should have been valued at about $75 million, but it was valued at $739 million.”
In addition to the Trumps, the defendants in the suit include Allen Weisselberg, who acted for years as chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.
Both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were criminally charged last year by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for an alleged scheme to avoid paying taxes on portions of the compensation given to company executives, among them Weisselberg.
Other defendants in the suit include Weisselberg’s lieutenant, Jeffrey McConney, as well as several Trump corporate entities and limited liability corporates that own properties in Manhattan, Westchester County, New 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; conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
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.