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Trump, sons face $370m penalty, real estate bans in NY fraud trial

By Jake Beardslee · January 5, 2024

In brief…

  • Trump accused of using "deceptive schemes" to inflate net worth, state argues fraud is "inescapable"
  • Seeks nearly $370M penalty, lifetime business ban for Trump and top executives
  • Trump's lawyers say no fraud, banks wanted to work with him, sons had minimal role
  • Closing arguments next week before judge rules on conspiracy, fraud, falsification claims
The New York AG accused Trump and his business of fraudulently inflating his net worth by billions ahead of closing arguments in his civil trial next week.  Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America/Wikimedia

The New York attorney general’s office argued in a court filing on Friday that former President Trump, his business, and top executives like his adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric used “myriad deceptive schemes” to falsely inflate Trump’s net worth by billions, according to The Hill. The filing came ahead of closing remarks next week in Trump’s civil fraud trial.

The attorney general’s case centers on Trump’s statements of financial condition, documents detailing the Trump Organization’s assets that were sent to banks and insurers when securing loans and deals. New York AG Letitia James asserts these statements constitute evidence of fraud and asked the judge to make Trump pay nearly $370 million in penalties and permanently bar him and two top executives from doing real estate business in New York.

Trump’s lawyers maintain the banks wanted to work with Trump, did their due diligence, and found no fraud. They argue any misstatements were just “accidental errors” with no “indicia of fraud such as concealment, forgery, or deceit.” Trump called the case politically motivated, writing on Truth Social “No Victims, No Crime, Great Financial Statements. Letitia James is doing this to me.”

Donald Jr. and Eric Trump’s lawyers asserted the sons had minimal involvement with the financial statements, which were handled by others in the company and outside accountants. Both sons distanced themselves from the documents during trial testimony. The state seeks a 5-year ban on their participation in New York real estate.

Closing arguments are next week before Judge Arthur Engoron rules on claims including conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying records. Engoron already found Trump liable for fraud in an earlier ruling.