According to a complaint filed by New York’s attorney general on Wednesday, Donald Trump and their family members misled tax collectors, bankers, and insurers for years in a system that habitually overstated the worth of his properties to profit themselves.
Letitia James, a leading state prosecutor, said that the former president used the assistance of his children and others from the Trump Organization to make false claims about his net worth and value of his assets “to acquire and fulfill loans, gain insurance benefits, and pay lesser taxes.”
“In short, he lied to gain massive financial benefits for himself.”
The extensive inquiry is only one of numerous legislative, criminal, and civil inquiries against Trump, who plans to run for president again in 2024.
Trump reiterated his oft-used claim that the lawsuit is “another witch hunt” against him, and a representative for the Republican billionaire blasted it as a partisan action by Democrats.
In addition to asking that his family be prohibited from operating companies in the state, James’ office demanded that the former president pay at least $250 million in fines, which is the amount she claims he profited from the crime.
She also demanded a five-year ban on Trump, his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, from owning real estate in the state.
James said that “the whole basis of his alleged net worth is built in enormous deception and crime.”
Trump felt he could get away with the art of the theft, but today, that behavior stops, she added, using the title of his book, “The Art of Deal.”
James said that based on the three-year inquiry, her office, which lacks the jurisdiction to bring criminal charges, referred a case to the US Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the case submitted to the New York State Supreme Court, Trump’s yearly financial statements for at least a decade “staggeringly” overstated property values for all of his holdings, from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida to Manhattan’s Trump Tower.
James, who is fighting for re-election to her position in November, he did this to secure advantageous loans with reduced interest rates and premiums.
According to the lawsuit, Trump and his colleagues employed various strategies, including pretending to have cash on hand when they didn’t, drastically changing property valuations.
And using “objectively fraudulent statistics to compute property values,” including at his infamous triplex on Fifth Avenue.
“White collar financial crime is not a victimless crime,” James said.
The number of resources available to working people, ordinary people, small enterprises, and all taxpayers decreases when well-connected persons breach the law to get more money than they are legally entitled to.
James’ complaint asks a court to remove the Trumps from their family firm and establish an impartial body to oversee the Trump Organization’s financial procedures.
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Web of investigations
Since 2018, when the Manhattan district attorney launched an investigation into the then-president, who has long fought to portray himself as a self-made billionaire, New York authorities have been looking into Trump and his family company.
The following year, James’ civil investigation was launched when Trump’s former attorney testified and revealed wrongdoing by the business.
No charges have been brought as a consequence of the DA’s criminal investigation.
The longtime financial director of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, pled guilty to tax evasion last month and consented to testify in the future criminal case against the real estate business of the former US president.
The Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said last month that he would be sentenced to five months in jail if he provided accurate testimony at the Trump Organization’s criminal trial in October on tax fraud charges.
On August 8, FBI investigators conducted separate searches of Trump’s opulent Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. They collected multiple boxes of papers, some of which were marked “Top Secret,” “Secret,” and “Confidential.”
His attorneys have attempted to prevent the government from accessing such files by asking that an impartial arbitrator review the files to see whether any include information protected by specific legal rights.
The government challenged the federal judge to deny them access to those records because they were secret.
Still, she ultimately agreed with Trump and permitted the appointment of a so-called special master.
On Wednesday, a three-judge appellate panel, of whom two were Trump nominees, decided that the government should once again have access to the secret materials.
In addition, Trump is under judicial investigation for his attempts to annul the election results in November 2020 and for his followers’ assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.