A judge has ruled that Donald Trump and his company are liable for fraud due to misrepresenting the values of multiple real estate properties over several years. This resulted in a gross overstatement of Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars. Judge Arthur Engoron made the decision, which also included canceling the business certificates of Trump, the Trump Organization, and other defendants, including Trump’s sons, in a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General’s Office. Engoron’s ruling did not clarify whether the Trump Organization can continue doing business in New York or if the companies can be reconstituted later. Trump’s lawyer criticized the decision and stated that they will pursue all available appellate remedies.
Engoron’s ruling found that Trump had made false and misleading valuations for real estate assets to obtain more favorable terms on insurance coverage and loans. These misstatements also caused him to inflate his true net worth by billions of dollars on annual financial statements. Engoron criticized the defendants’ approach, stating that they created a fantasy world rather than facing reality. In addition to the fraud suit, Trump faces 91 felony charges in four criminal cases, including cases related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Engoron’s ruling dismissed Trump’s request to dismiss the case and ordered sanctions against attorneys who made frivolous arguments.
While Engoron’s decision establishes liability for fraud, it did not address six other claims in the case, which will be resolved in a nonjury trial. The Attorney General’s Office is seeking $250 million in damages and wants Trump and his sons barred from doing business in the state. Trump and his attorneys criticized the ruling, claiming it is disconnected from the facts and governing law. Trump called for intervention from higher courts and maintained that his net worth exceeds what was presented in the financial statements implicated in the case.