Trump Committed Fraud by Lying About Net Worth, Judge Rules

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A New York judge ruled on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump, his two adult sons, and several of his associates are liable for fraud. The ruling establishes that Trump overvalued his properties and inflated his net worth over several years, thus deceiving banks, investors, and insurers.

The decision, handed down by Judge Arthur Engoron, also strips Trump and several of his co-defendants of their business licenses within New York, effectively signaling the dissolution of the crown jewel of the former president’s business empire, The Trump Organization.

The ruling orders that “any certificates filed [under New York’s consolidated laws, general business law] by any of the entity defendants or by any other entity controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Jeffrey McConney are canceled.”

Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise said 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.”

The decision comes days before the massive $250 million civil fraud lawsuit brought in April by New York Attorney General Letitia James was set to go to trial, and deals a massive blow to Trump’s defense. Engoron denied Trump’s motion to dismiss the case outright and ruled that a trial was not needed to establish the state’s claim of fraud. While the trial remains scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, it will focus primarily on establishing the amount of damages owed by the defendants.

Engoron sided with the state of New York, which has argued that over the course of several years Trump inflated his net worth by hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars, with the largest discrepancy being an over-valuation of more than $2.2 billion in 2014.

According to the plaintiffs, Trump inflated the values of his various properties, including his golf clubs, residential properties, and commercial holdings over several years, and used the exaggerated numbers to deceive banks and other financial entities.

Trump responded to Engoron’s ruling on Truth Social by reposting a statement, lamenting, “It is very unfair, and I call for help from the highest Courts in New York State, or the Federal System, to intercede.”

James and the state of New York are seeking $250 million in damages and a ban on Trump and his family from conducting business within the state.

This article has been updated on Sept. 26 at 8:32 p.m. E.T. to include statements from Donald Trump and his lawyer Chris Kise.

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