A New York state judge has ruled that Donald Trump, his sons, and his business organization orchestrated a “persistent and repeated fraud” by inflating the value of properties and golf courses. The judge issued sanctions against Trump’s lawyers and stated that a jury will determine if the defendants are liable for issuing false financial statements and insurance fraud. The lawsuit, filed in 2020, alleges that the Trumps inflated assets by over $2 billion to obtain loans on favorable terms. The ruling adds to Trump’s legal woes as he seeks to become the Republican nominee for president again next year.
In his ruling, Judge Arthur Engoron agreed with the New York attorney-general’s office that assets including a Park Avenue skyscraper and a Wall Street property were unlawfully inflated. He further ordered the dissolution of several of Trump’s New York businesses, accusing them of disseminating false and misleading information. The Trumps’ lawyers, including former solicitor general of Florida Chris Kise, were fined $7,500 each. The judge dismissed arguments that the banks involved were not defrauded, noting that stating the true value of Trump’s collateral could have led to higher interest rates and more profit for the lenders.
This ruling adds to the numerous legal challenges faced by Trump, who has been indicted on four criminal charges, including retaining classified documents and attempting to subvert the 2020 election. As the former president aims to secure the Republican nomination, he now faces the possible repercussions of this fraud case. Trump and the Trump Organization have not yet provided a comment in response to the ruling.