By Miriam Raftery
September 21, 2022 (New York) – Today, New York Attorney General Leticia James filed a civil fraud lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, his family members and the Trump Organization for alleged financial fraud.
“We’re also making a criminal referral to the U.S. Department of Justice,” James announced. On Twitter, she posted, “There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans.”
Her office has also referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate possible state and federal criminal laws.
According to the allegations, Trump, with help from Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump and other defendants “variously unlawfully inflated and deflated his net worth by billions to obtain and satisfy loans, get insurance benefits and pay lower taxes. In short, he lied to gain massive financial benefits for himself,” says James. The fraud allegedly occurred over many years.
The civil suit seeks to make Trump pay $250 million, ban the Trumps from running New York businesses permanently by revoking the company’s corporate certificate, and prohibit them from buying commercial real estate in New York for five years.
The lawsuit contends the Trump organization deceived lenders, insurers and tax authorities by inflating values of his properties with inaccurate or misleading appraisals. The lawsuit states that these acts of fraud were approved “at the highest levels of the Trump Organization –including by Mr. Trump himself.”
Besides members of the Trump family, the suit also names the company’s former Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, and company executive Jeff McConney as defendants.
The Trump War Room, a division of Trump’s political action committed, fired back this response on Twitter: "New York’s radical Attorney General Letitia James is using her office to attack President Trump just 48 DAYS before her own election. These politically-charged witch hunts will FAIL!"
Trump has previously accused James of being a “renegade prosecutor” and has called prior allegations “baseless.” CNN reports that Trump is already facing numerous criminal investigations from federal and state prosecutors into accuracy of his company’s financial statements, interference in the 2020 presidential election, and his handling of classified documents after leaving office. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.