Donald Trump committed fraud for years and massively exaggerated net worth to secure finance, court rules

26 September 2023, 21:42 | Updated: 26 September 2023, 22:01

Donald Trump committed fraud for years, a judge has ruled
Donald Trump committed fraud for years, a judge has ruled. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Donald Trump committed fraud and massively exaggerated his net worth by up to $3.6bn in deals used to secure financing, a court has ruled.

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A judge ruled the former president and his business deceived banks and insurers as he overstated his assets and net worth as they sought money.

It comes after New York's attorney general Letitia James brought a lawsuit against the mogul-turned-politician.

Judge Arthur Engoron made his decision days before the start of a non-jury trial on that lawsuit.

He found Trump, his company and important executives did not merely brag about his wealth, but lied about it on financial statements.

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This meant they could secure favourable loan terms and lower insurance premiums, the judge said.

Such tactics violated the law, he found. Trump's claim that a disclaimer on the statements meant he was not involved in any wrongdoing were rejected.

While Trump is not facing a criminal trial in this case, the civil action could hamper his business activities in the state of New York.

James hopes to secure penalties worth $250m and a ban on him doing any business there.

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The state - and New York City - was where he made his name as he built up his real estate empire.

Six other claims in the lawsuit remain unresolved.

The non-jury trial will begin on October 2, where they will be decided on. Any punishments would be issued after that.

Trump's lawyers, meanwhile, argue James could not file the suit because there is no evidence of harm to the public and that a statute of limitations prevents many claims against him from being filed.