Breaking: Federal judge finds Trump committed fraud over inflated real estate valuations

News & Politics

Editor’s note: The headline of this article has been changed to better reflect the court’s ruling. The original headline used the word “guilty.”

A federal judge found former President Donald Trump defrauded banks and insurance companies by illegally inflating the valuations of real estate holdings.

New York state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said Tuesday that Trump overestimated the value of his properties and his net worth in order to seek favorable financing for about a decade.

The claim is a key part of the $250 million civil lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Trump, his two sons, and the Trump Organization. The ruling allows James to impose sanctions on Trump, his co-defendants, and his attorneys.

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On Monday, the other charges of the lawsuit are scheduled to go to a non-jury trial, which is expected to last for at least three months, unless appeals delay the trial.

Engoron also ruled that business certificates for the Trump Organization are to be canceled.

James claimed that Trump exaggerated his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion on financial statements given to insurers and bankers. Trump’s properties in the lawsuit included the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and his penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower.

Engoron criticized the arguments used in the case to defend Trump.

“He claims that if the values of the property have gone up in the years since the (financial statements) were submitted, then the numbers were not inflated at that time,” Engoron wrote in the ruling. “He also seems to imply that the numbers cannot be inflated because he could find a ‘buyer from Saudi Arabia’ to pay any price he suggests.”

Trump has been indicted in various criminal cases, including charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the official results of the 2020 presidential election and to charges related to hush money that was allegedly paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

The former president is far and away the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election.

Here’s more about the ruling:

Donald Trump fraudulently inflated his worth by $3.6bn, says judge – BBC

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