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 the decision — 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.
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.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately return a request for comment.
More to come.