A judge has ruled that Donald Trump and his company are liable for fraud by providing false valuations of multiple properties, resulting in a gross overestimation of the former president’s net worth. Judge Arthur Engoron’s decision also canceled the New York business certificates of Trump, the Trump Organization, and other defendants, including his sons. The judge will appoint an independent receiver to oversee the dissolution of the corporate entities affected. It remains unclear whether these companies will be able to resume business in the future or if they will be permanently barred from doing so. Trump plans to appeal the decision, calling it a miscarriage of justice.
The ruling found that Trump misrepresented the values of various real estate assets in statements to insurers and banks, leading to inflated net worth estimates by billions of dollars. Engoron specifically pointed out that Trump falsely claimed his Trump Tower apartment to be nearly three times its actual size and worth $327 million. Engoron also imposed sanctions on five attorneys representing the Trump defendants for making frivolous arguments in court. Attorney General Letitia James, who filed the lawsuit seeking $250 million in damages, hailed the ruling and looks forward to presenting the remaining claims at trial.
Apart from this civil fraud suit, Trump is facing a total of 91 felony charges in four criminal cases. These include efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and retaining classified government documents at his Mar-a-Lago club, which is mentioned in Engoron’s ruling. The judge’s decision grants James the power to enjoin the defendants from continuing fraudulent or illegal acts. The ruling revealed fraudulent valuations of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, Trump Park Avenue, 40 Wall Street, Seven Springs property, and his golf course in Scotland. Trump’s legal team criticized the decision, claiming it disregarded experts’ opinions and the profitability of the transactions involved.
Trump and his supporters responded to the ruling by attacking James and the judge, expressing their intent to appeal. They argue that the case undermines the reputation of the Trump Organization, which they consider a success story. Engoron’s ruling has significant implications for the Trump family’s future business dealings and adds to the mounting legal challenges faced by the former president.