Donald Trump found liable for fraud in New York civil case

The former US President and his company are being sued by the New York Attorney General for deceiving banks, insurers and creditors by over-valuating assets and inflating net worth

Trump's lawyers have said they will appeal the judge's decision (photo: DW)
Trump's lawyers have said they will appeal the judge's decision (photo: DW)


A judge on Tuesday, 26 September found Donald Trump liable for fraud during his business dealings as part of a civil case against the former US president.

Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court in Manhattan determined that Trump and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating the real estate tycoon's net worth on paperwork that was used to make deals and secure financing.

New York District Attorney Letitia James sued Trump for inflating his assets in September 2022.

What is the case about?

The New York attorney general claimed that Trump inflated his net worth by as much as $2.23 billion (€2.11 billion), and by one measure as much as $3.6 billion (€3.4 billion), on annual financial statements given to banks and insurers.

Some of the assets that were overvalued were Trump's Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida, his penthouse apartment in Manhattan's Trump Tower, and a number of office buildings and gold courses, James said.

What's next?

Engoron's decision narrows down the issues that will be heard at a trial next week. It effectively declares the core of James' case to be valid, the New York Times reported.

In the meantime, the judge ordered that some of Trump's business licences be rescinded as punishment, making it harder for him to do business in New York.

An independent monitor would continue to oversee the Trump Organization's operations, he added.

Christopher Kise, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement that the decision was "outrageous" and  "completely disconnected from the facts and governing law." He added Trump would appeal the decision. 

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Eric Trump said the decision was "an attempt to destroy" his father and "kick him out of New York."

"Today, I lost all faith in the New York legal system," the younger Trump wrote. 

Judge slams Trump

Engoron said Trump's defenses during his deposition were "wholly without basis in law or fact."

"He claims that if the values of the property have gone up in the years since the [financial statements] were submitted, then the numbers were not inflated at that time," the judge wrote.

"He also seems to imply that the numbers cannot be inflated because he could find a 'buyer from Saudi Arabia' to pay any price he suggests."

Trump faces a number of other criminal indictments over his role in the Capitol Hill riots, alleged election interference in the state of Georgia, improper handling of classified documents, and hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels, as well as an upcoming civil defamation case regarding comments made about E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s.

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Published: 27 Sep 2023, 9:31 AM