A judge ruled on Tuesday that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building his real estate empire, which propelled him to fame and eventually, the White House. Trump has consistently maintained his innocence of any legal wrongdoing, but a spokesperson for the politician was unavailable for comment following the announcement of the judge’s decision.
The judge also detailed how Trump, his adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other defendants fabricated values and exaggerated Trump’s net worth to meet their commercial goals.
What do we know about Donald Trump’s fraud case verdict?
In a civil case brought by New York’s attorney general, Judge Arthur Engoron determined that the former president and his family business defrauded banks, insurers, and others by grossly overvaluing his assets and misrepresenting his net worth on documentation used in making deals and receiving funding. Judge Engoron ordered that some of Trump’s business licenses be revoked as a consequence, making it difficult or impossible for the individuals to do business in New York, and stated that the Trump Organization’s operations will continue to be overseen by an independent monitor.
The ruling, made just days before the commencement of a non-jury trial in Attorney General Letitia James’ case, is the most vehement denunciation yet of Trump’s carefully cultivated image as a wealthy and astute real estate billionaire turned political force. Beyond simply boasting about his wealth, Engoron discovered that Trump, his corporation, and key staff frequently lied about his assets on his annual financial statements, reaping benefits such as advantageous loan conditions and lower insurance premiums. The judge ruled that Trump’s techniques exceeded a boundary and breached the law, dismissing Trump’s claim that a disclaimer on the financial records freed him of any wrongdoing.
“In defendants’ world: rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies. That is a fantasy world, not the real world.”Judge Engoron in his 35-page ruling