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New York sues Donald Trump, family for fraud

September 21, 2022

New York Attorney General Letitia James said Trump provided false information on asset valuation and his net worth to enrich himself and "cheat the system."

Former US President Donald Trump
Trump faces multiple investigations both on the federal and state levelImage: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx/picture alliance

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit on Wednesday against former President Donald Trump, accusing him and members of his family of "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation."

"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," James said in a statement.

The aim was to boost Trump's billionaire image by overstating his asset values to obtain favorable loans, and understating them for tax breaks.

"Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It's the art of the steal,'' James said. 

She also referred the case to federal prosecutors and the US Internal Revenue Service for criminal investigation.

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said James, a Democrat running for a second term in November, was busy waging a "bitter crusade" against him.

"A tale of two justice systems — yes where criminals go free, and the Democrats only go after their political opponents!" Trump’s spokesperson, Liz Harrington wrote on his online platform Truth Social.

What is the lawsuit about? 

The lawsuit accused the Trump Organization of wrongdoing in preparing Trump's annual statements of financial condition from 2011 to 2021.

It also named Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump as defendants, along with two longtime company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney.

Donald Trump poses with his children, from left, Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka in this file picture from 2010.
Trump's adult children Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, are also named in the lawsuitImage: Mark Lennihan/AP Photo/picture alliance

James has been conducting a civil investigation into Trump's business practices for more than three years.

James told reporters she is seeking to have the defendants give up all the benefits he obtained from fraud, estimated at $250 million (€254 million).

"The pattern of fraud and deception that was used by Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization for their own financial benefit is astounding," James said

The lawsuit also seeks to bar Trump and his children from running companies in New York, and to bar the Trump Organization from engaging in real estate transactions.

James' civil probe is separate from a criminal tax fraud probe against the Trump Organization by Manhattan's district attorney, Alvin Bragg that was due to come before court in October. 

lo/wd (AP, Reuters)