A New York Judge has ruled that former president Donald Trump committed fraud by inflating his wealth by hundreds of millions of dollars.
The ruling also cited that he defrauded banks and insurers for years. This ruling has put his ability to do business in New York in jeopardy.
New York Attorney General Letitia James had accused Trump, his two adult sons, and the Trump Organization of inflating the value of their properties by more than $2bn (£1.65bn) to suit the needs of their business.
She also claimed that they published false records and financial statements to get better terms on loans and insurance deals and to pay less tax.
During the trial, Judge Arthur Engoro determined that Mr Trump:
- Overvalued Mar-a-Lago by 2,300% in one financial statement
- Overvalued his penthouse at Trump Tower in New York by claiming that it was three times its actual size
- “Absurdly” argued that calculating the area of the penthouse was subjective, ruling “a discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud”
Six more financial unbalance charges against Mr Trump are still to be analyzed.
The trial is scheduled to begin on 2 October and could last until at least December. Ms James is seeking $250m in penalties and a ban on Mr Trump doing business in his home state.
In his ruling, Judge Engoron said “The documents here clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business”.
“That is a fantasy world, not the real world,” he wrote.