Trumped up charges? Donald Trump and family face fraud allegations
- Trump and family face civil fraud suit brought by NY Attorney General
- Allegation that Trump’s net worth inflated by billions
- Allegation of numerous acts of fraud
- NY State seeking return of US$250m
- Trump claims it is a racist witch hunt
Former US President, Donald Trump and three of his children face a civil fraud lawsuit. The suit has been filed by New York Attorney General, Letitia James.
The lawsuit follows a 3 year civil investigation into the Trump Organization and claims that the Trumps inflated their net worth by billions of Dollars.
New York Attorney General, Letitia James, the state’s most senior lawyer, wants $250m she claims was illegally obtained to be returned.
Donald Trump has dismissed the civil lawsuit as “another witch hunt”.
Donald Trump’s eldest children, Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric Trump, have also been named as defendants together with Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney, two executives at the Trump Organization.
Letitia James alleges: “with the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system”.
The properties concerned include Trump’s own apartment in Trump Tower which had been valued at $327m.
Letitia James claims “no apartment in New York City has ever sold for close to that amount”.
The apartment’s “wildly overstated” size was tripled and given an “unreasonable” price per square foot. The record sale in the entire Trump Tower was $16.5m.
It is also claimed that the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida was valued at $739m by the Trump Organization when according to The Attorney General’s office the real value was closer to $75m with the club generating less than $25m per year.
The claim is set out in a 222 page document and alleges:
– Donald Trump and three of his children inflated the value of hotels, golf courses and other assets to secure better loans and lower tax rates
– Between 2011 and 2O21 Donald Trump and his family committed numerous acts of fraud including more than 200 false or misleading valuations on financial statements
– Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, or former Trump Organization financial executive Allen Weisselberg personally certified each statement as being accurate
– As a result of the inflated values the Trump family benefited by at least $250m.
– NY State wants to recover that money
Letitia James pointed out “white collar financial crime is not a victimless crime…when the well-connected break the law to take in more money than they are entitled to, it reduces resources available to working people, to regular people, to small businesses and to all tax payers.”
In addition to return of the US$250m the Attorney General is seeking to bar Donald Trump and his children from serving as officers or directors in any New York business and for the Trump Organization to be banned for 5 years from engaging in real estate transactions.
Letitia James is a Democrat running for re-election in November. She apparently rejected at least one offer to settle the civil investigation.
Donald Trump accused Letitia James of “weaponising her office to go after her political opponents.”
He claimed that this is: “another witch hunt by a racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who failed in her run for Governor, getting almost zero support from the public”. Letitia James is black.
Letitia James’ office does not have the power to file criminal charges. The allegations of criminal wrongdoing have therefore been referred to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and federal prosecutors.
Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Other cases against Donald Trump
- E. Jean Carroll Defamation and Federal Tort Claims Act Litigation. Carroll is suing Trump for defamation after he publicly accused her of fabricating a rape allegation against him.
- Summer Zervos Defamation Suit (CLOSED)
- Mary Trump Fraud Litigation. Mary Trump is accusing Donald Trump of defrauding her out of millions of dollars in an inheritance dispute.
- Panama Hotel Fraud and Tax Litigation (CLOSED)
- Doe v. The Trump Corporation Class Action. A group of anonymous plaintiffs have filed a class action against the Trump family and their business, alleging that the Trumps used their brand to scam investors into paying for worthless business opportunities.
- DC Civil Suit over Misuse of 2017 Inauguration Funds (CLOSED)
- Reps. Karen Bass et al. Incitement Suit for Jan. 6 Capitol Attack. Ten members of the House of Representatives, represented by the NAACP, are suing Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and two right wing militia groups for conspiring to forcibly prevent Congress from counting the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
- Eric Swalwell Incitement Suit for Jan. 6 Riots. On Mar. 5, 2021, Representative Eric Swalwell sued Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr., and Congressman Mo Brooks in federal court over the Jan. 6 riots.
- Capitol Police Suit for Jan. 6 Riots. Two Capitol Police officers–both on duty during the Jan. 6 insurrection–sued Donald Trump for injuries they sustained while protecting the Capitol.
- Second Capitol Police Suit for Jan. 6 Riots. A second group of Capitol Police officers filed suit against Trump, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and other affiliates involved in allegedly planning and executing the Jan. 6 riots.
- Third Capitol Police Suit over the Jan. 6 Riots. A third suit was filed by a Capitol Police officer alleging that physical and emotional injuries he suffered were caused by Trump’s inciting the Jan. 6 riot.
- Metropolitan Police Suit over the Jan. 6 Riots. Two Metropolitan Police Officers filed suit alleging that physical and emotional injuries they suffered were caused by Trump’s inciting the Jan. 6 riot.
- NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund Voting Rights Case for Post-Election Actions. The LDF is suing Trump, the Trump Campaign, and the RNC for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act.
- New York Attorney General’s Civil and Criminal Investigations. Since March 2019, New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating allegations that the Trump Organization altered property values to avoid tax liabilities. Civil Lawsuit filed 21 09 22 ( see above)
- Scotland Unexplained Wealth Orders. In February 2021, the Scottish Parliament voted to reject an investigation into unexplained cash transactions executed by the Trump Organization’s Scottish golf courses. A non-profit group is now challenging that decision in Scottish court.
- Trump Tower Assault Suit. A group of six protesters are suing Trump over allegations that Trump’s security guards assaulted them outside Trump Tower in 2015. The case is pending in New York state court.
- Michael Cohen Retaliatory Imprisonment Suit. Michael Cohen–Donald Trump’s former attorney who served a three-year sentence for Trump-related crimes–is suing Trump, the US government, and other officials for allegedly retaliating against Cohen after he announced a tell-all book detailing his years of legal work for Trump.
- Criminal Investigations into Trump’s Finances. During his presidency, the Manhattan District Attorney investigated Trump’s finances. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance recently gained access to Trump’s tax information in the course of a criminal investigation into potential tax crimes, insurance fraud, and other financial crimes under state law. Criminal charges have not been filed.
- DC AG Incitement Criminal Investigation The DC Attorney General, Karl Racine announced a criminal investigation into Trump’s alleged role in provoking the Jan. 6th riots.
- Fulton County, Georgia Criminal Election Influence Investigation The Fulton County DA’s Office has opened a criminal investigation into attempted election interference by Trump.
- Westchester, New York Criminal Investigation of Trump Organization Golf Course. Investigation as to whether the Trump Organization misled local officials on the property values of its golf course in order to reduce its taxes.
- National Archives Investigation: Mishandled Classified Material
The National Archives has reportedly asked the DOJ to examine whether Trump mishandled classified White House records in violation of the Presidential Records Act. The Archives recovered the classified materials when it retrieved fifteen boxes of official records from Trump’s Florida residence.
Update-1: On May 12, 2022, the New York Times reported that the Justice Department has started a “grand jury investigation into whether classified White House documents that ended up at former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home were mishandled,” and that the grand jury has issued at least one subpoena. That subpoena is to the National Archives to obtain the classified documents.
Update-2: On Aug. 8, 2022, FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. The agents were reportedly searching for evidence of missing classified and other government documents that Trump allegedly took with him after leaving office. On Aug. 11, Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed in public remarks that he had personally approved the search.
The US Department of Justice says releasing details about the warrant used to raid Donald Trump’s Florida home could cause “irreparable damage” to its investigation.
- FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago to find out if Mr Trump improperly handled government records when he left office. Eleven sets of classified files were recovered from the search.
- Will Cain on Fox News quoted Richard Nixon: “When it comes to classified documents, famously, President Nixon said, that if the president does it, that it is not illegal. Is that not truly the standard when it comes to classified documents? The president has the ability to at any time declassify anything.” However, he also said “there’s a procedure that the president must follow.”
- When President Nixon resigned over Watergate in 1974, he wanted to take his documents to his home in California, including his tape recordings.
- Congress realized it would not have access to that material, and they also feared it could be destroyed. So, legislators passed the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, which made all of Nixon’s material public property.
- In 1978, Congress passed the more sweeping Presidential Records Act that has been the standard ever since.
- Before Nixon, a president could take home whatever document they wanted.
“Every president, when they leave office, those records that have been created by the president and his staff are presidential records that go to the National Archives,” said Jason R. Baron, former director of litigation at the National Archives. “The owner is the American people.”
Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
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