Judge in civil suit rules Trump defrauded banks while building real estate empire

September 27, 2023
Jen Krausz

A judge in a $250 million New York civil suit against former President Donald Trump ruled Tuesday that Trump committed fraud against banks and insurers repeatedly over many years while building his real estate empire and even during the time he ran for and served as president.

The ruling by Judge Arthur Engoron in the non-jury trial resolved the main part of the case, but six other parts remain.

Trump claimed that he didn't do anything wrong, but Engoron said he "crossed a line" in exaggerating property values and other assets on paperwork to get loans and other financing for more properties.

Engoron also rejected Trump's arguments that the disclaimer he added on to the paperwork exonerates him in the matter.

"This is a fantasy world"

“In defendants’ world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies," Engoron wrote in his 35-page ruling. "That is a is a fantasy world, not the real world.”

As a result of the ruling, several licenses to operate in the city were revoked, which will make it hard for Trump to conduct business there.

More suspensions and cancellations could be coming when the rest of the case is heard, if it doesn't go favorably for Trump.

Prosecutor Letitia James is looking to hurt Trump's reputation ahead of the 2024 election and stop him from operating in the city.

Overblown claims

Trump made claims that his Trump Tower apartment was worth $327 million, which is far more than any apartment in New York had ever been worth.

He also valued Mar-A-Lago at $739 million, or around 10 times the amount it was actually worth.

Trump argued that his disclaimer said clearly that the figures could not be trusted, and said he always made all of his payments to the banks during that time. All's well that ends well, he reasoned.

At his April deposition, he told James, “You don’t have a case and you should drop this case.”

She did not take his advice.

On social media, Trump called Engoron a "Deranged, Trump Hating Judge" and had previously said the case was "politically motivated."

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