In a significant blow to former President Donald Trump, a New York judge has ruled that he and his family business fraudulently inflated the value of their assets. Justice Arthur Engoron of New York state court in Manhattan found that Trump and his adult sons, along with the Trump Organization, made up valuations and inflated Trump’s net worth for their own business interests. The decision will make it easier for state Attorney General Letitia James to establish damages at an upcoming trial. Engoron also ordered the cancellation of certificates that allowed Trump’s businesses to operate in New York and appointed a receiver to oversee their dissolution.
Engoron’s scathing decision highlights the fraudulent practices employed by Trump and his family. He described the inflated valuations as a “fantasy world” and criticized the defendants’ lawyers for making “preposterous” legal arguments. The judge’s ruling has severe implications for Trump’s business operations and potential earnings, as the cancellation of business certificates could force the liquidation of the limited liability companies that hold the majority of Trump’s assets. Despite the devastating ruling, Trump plans to appeal and has called the accusations of fraud “ridiculous and untrue.”
The fraud case filed against Trump by Attorney General Letitia James centers on allegations that he lied about asset values and his net worth to deceive banks and insurers, ultimately securing better terms. Engoron stated that James submitted “conclusive evidence” that Trump had overstated his net worth by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. The judge specifically identified Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and penthouse apartment in Trump Tower, among other properties, as being grossly overvalued. Engoron labeled a discrepancy of $207 million in the penthouse’s valuation as outright fraud. The ruling could have significant consequences for Trump’s ongoing legal battles and his aspirations to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.