Trump inflated his net worth by as much as $2.2bn, New York attorney general says

A $250m fraud lawsuit from Letitia James is heading towards October trial

Alex Woodward
Thursday 31 August 2023 12:58 BST
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Donald Trump fraudulently inflated his net worth by as much as $2.2bn in one year and by hundreds of millions of dollars in other years over a decade, according to New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office is suing the former president and his business empire following a years-long fraud investigation.

Her motion for partial summary judgment estimates that Mr Trump had inflated his net worth by $812m to $2.2bn – roughly 17 to 39 per cent – each year from 2011 to 2021. The $2.2bn estimate came in 2014, according to the recently unsealed filing.

Ms James is asking a state Supreme Court judge for an immediate verdict in the case, arguing that “based on the undisputed evidence, no trial is required for the court to determine that defendants presented grossly and materially inflated asset values” and then used what were fraudulent statements of financial condition to repeatedly “defraud banks and insurers,” according to the filing.

“At the end of the day, this is a documents case, and the documents leave no shred of doubt” that Mr Trump’s statements of financial condition “do not even remotely reflect the ‘estimated current value’ of his assets as they would trade between well-informed market participants,” she added.

Her office determined that the former president’s net worth within any year between 2011 and 2021 would be no more than $2.6bn, rather than the stated net worth of up to $6.1bn, and “likely considerably less” if his properties had been correctly appraised, according to the filing, which is dated 4 August.

A case surrounding her $250m lawsuit is set to go to trial on 2 October, kicking off the first of several other civil and criminal proceedings as Mr Trump seeks the 2024 Republican nomination for president – including two federal criminal trials, two state criminal trials, and another defamation trial, among other cases.

Mr Trump is not required to attend the trial, which could last up to six weeks.

The Independent has requested comment from a spokesperson for Mr Trump.

New York Attorney General Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James (REUTERS)

Speaking from her office in New York City last year, Ms James said Mr Trump “cheated all of us” by inflating his net worth “to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system”.

“This investigation revealed that Donald Trump engaged in years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth ... to deceive banks and the people of the great state of New York,” she said.

The lawsuit, which followed a three-year probe and a review of millions of documents, seeks to recover $250m in lost revenue and penalties, as well as a judge’s order that would permanently bar the Trumps from holding any offices with businesses in the state.

Mr Trump has repeatedly branded Ms James and other Black Democratic elected prosecutors as “racists” leading politically motivated investigations to prevent him from running for office.

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