A New York judge has ruled that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House.
Judge Arthur Engoron, ruling Tuesday in a civil lawsuit brought by Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, found that the former US president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork.
The decision, which comes days before the start of a non-jury trial, is the strongest repudiation yet of Trump’s carefully coiffed image as a wealthy and shrewd real estate mogul turned political powerhouse.
James sued Trump in September 2022, accusing him and the Trump Organization of lying for a decade about asset values and his net worth to get better terms on bank loans and insurance.
She has said Trump inflated his net worth by as much as $2.23bn, and by one measure as much as $3.6bn, on annual financial statements given to banks and insurers.
The attorney general has said assets whose values were inflated include Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, his penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, and various office buildings and golf courses.
More details soon…