Donald Trump and family members have faced a lawsuit filed by New York’s attorney general on Wednesday.
According to it, they lied to tax collectors, lenders and insurers for years in a scheme that routinely misstated the value of his properties to enrich themselves.
Top state prosecutor Letitia James said that with the help of his children and others at the Trump Organization, the former president provided fraudulent statements of his net worth and false asset valuations “to obtain and satisfy loans, get insurance benefits, and pay lower taxes.”
“In short, he lied to gain massive financial benefits for himself.”
The sweeping investigation is one of many criminal, civil and congressional probes into Trump, who is eyeing another run for the White House in 2024, reports AFP.
Trump repeated his oft-used defense that the suit is “another witch hunt” against him, while his spokesperson denounced it as a political move by Democrats against the Republican businessman.
James’ office requested that the former president pay at least $250 million in penalties — a sum she says he made from the fraud — and that his family be banned from running businesses in the state.
She also urged that Trump along with his children Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump be barred from purchasing property in the state for five years.
“The very foundation of his purported net worth is rooted in incredible fraud and illegality,” James said in a statement.
Referring the title of Trump’s book “The Art of Deal,” she said that “Mr. Trump thought he could get away with the art of the steal, but today, that conduct ends.”