New York Judge Rules Donald Trump Committed Real Estate Value Fraud

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A New York state judge has ruled that Donald Trump, along with his sons and his business organization, orchestrated a “persistent and repeated fraud” by inflating the value of properties and golf courses in Manhattan, Florida, the US, and Scotland. The judge, Arthur Engoron, stated that Trump and his associates committed fraud, issued sanctions against their lawyers, and left it to a jury to determine if they are also liable for issuing false financial statements and insurance fraud. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2020 by New York attorney-general Letitia James, alleges that Trump and his businesses inflated asset values to obtain favorable loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars, seeking to recover $250 million in damages. The ruling adds to Trump’s legal troubles as he aims to become the Republican nominee for president in the upcoming elections.

Judge Engoron agreed with the attorney-general’s office that several assets, including a Park Avenue skyscraper and a property on Wall Street, were unlawfully inflated. He further ordered the dissolution of some of Trump’s New York businesses, accusing them of continuing to spread false information despite the appointment of a court monitor. The Trumps’ lawyers, including former solicitor general of Florida Chris Kise, were fined $7,500 each by the court. The judge dismissed arguments by Trump’s lawyers that the banks involved were not defrauded as the loans were repaid in full, emphasizing that accurate accounting of collateral would have allowed lenders to make even more money by charging higher interest rates. Lawyers representing Trump and the Trump Organization have yet to comment on the ruling.

This ruling adds to the mounting legal challenges faced by Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president in the upcoming elections. Apart from the fraud allegations, the 77-year-old is also facing four criminal indictments, including retaining classified documents and attempting to subvert the 2020 election results. Despite pleading not guilty to all charges, these legal troubles pose significant hurdles for Trump’s political aspirations. The judge’s decision affirmed the claims made by the attorney-general’s office, highlighting the unlawful inflation of asset values and issuing sanctions against Trump’s lawyers. The dissolution of Trump’s businesses and the fines imposed on his legal team further compound the consequences of the ruling. It remains to be seen how this ruling will impact Trump’s political prospects and the ongoing legal battles surrounding his name.

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