Former President Donald Trump was found liable for defrauding banks, as a New York judge ruled that he and his companies overvalued assets and his net worth as he sought financing.
The ruling from New York Judge Arthur Engoron — read it here — was in a case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. She filed a civil fraud lawsuit last year against Trump, his companies and two of his children. James alleged a scheme over 10 years to engage in fraudulent practices that benefited the Trumps and the company to the tune of $250 million.
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The judge also ordered that certain Trump business certificates be canceled, and that a receiver be appointed to manage the dissolution of the LLCs. That reportedly means that Trump could lose control of some of his properties in the state, including office buildings, a golf club and even the Trump Tower.
Engoron wrote that “the documents here clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business, satisfying [the attorney general’s] burden to establish liability as a matter of law against defendants. Defendants respond that: the documents do not say what they say; that there is no such thing as ‘objective’ value; and that, essentially, the court should not believe its own eyes.”
The judge said that Trump’s defenses “are wholly without basis in law or fact.” Among other things, Engoron wrote that Trump “seems to imply that the numbers cannot be inflated because he could find a ‘buyer from Saudi Arabia’ to pay any price he suggests.”
The summary judgment ruling came in advance of a trial in the case, scheduled to start next week. The judge will then decide on remaining claims. The judge also declined Trump attorneys’ motion to toss out the case.
The judge sided with James’ contention that Trump and his company, as well as executives, exaggerated values on financial documents, allowing for better loan terms and other business benefits.
Chris Kise, attorney for Trump and other defendants, said in a statement, “Today’s outrageous decision is completely unhinged from the facts and governing law. The Court has ignored fully the Appellate Division mandate and basic legal, accounting and business principles. “
Kise argued that the decision “essentially substituted its own judgment for that of nationally recognized experts from the NYU Stern School of Business and beyond.”
“The decision seeks to nationalize one of the most successful corporate empires in the United States and seize control of private property all while acknowledging there is zero evidence of any default, breach, late payment or any complaint of harm,” he said. “More importantly, the Court disregarded the words of those actually involved in the loan transactions who testified there was nothing misleading and there was no fraud. While the full impact of the decision remains unclear, what is clear is that President Trump will seek all available appellate remedies to rectify this miscarriage of justice.”
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