New York Attorney General Letitia James disclosed new details Tuesday night, January 18, 2022, about her civil investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business, saying the probe has uncovered evidence suggesting the company put a fraudulent value on multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.
James, who launched her probe in 2019, also said in the court filing that the former president “had ultimate authority over a wide swath of conduct by the Trump Organization” that involved fraudulent misstatements to financial institutions, the Internal Revenue Service, and other parties.
She specifically mentioned the responsibility of two of the former president’s adult children, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump.
“Since 2017, Donald Trump, Jr. has had authority over numerous financial statements containing misleading asset valuations,” James wrote in the court filing.
Ivanka Trump, a former White House adviser, “was a primary contact for the Trump Organization’s largest lender, Deutsche Bank. In connection with this work, Ms. Trump caused misleading financial statements to be submitted to Deutsche Bank and the federal government,” James wrote.
“Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit,” James said in a statement Tuesday. “The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them.”
Her office added that it “has not yet reached a final decision regarding whether this evidence merits legal action.”
James is conducting a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization committed fraud in reporting the value of certain properties to banks and tax authorities.
Banks and other lenders need to know the precise financial condition of loan applicants before they make loans. If a company overstates its financial condition in order to get a loan, making its finances seem rosier than they really are, that can be considered fraud. The filing says that Trump’s financial statements “were generally inflated as part of a pattern to suggest that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than it otherwise would have appeared.”
Tuesday’s filing is in response to legal efforts by the former president to quash a series of subpoenas against him, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump. James is seeking an order to compel all three to appear for sworn testimony.
The filing says there have been problems with valuations in statements that have not been explained by the Trump Organization.