Donald Trump and members of his family committed a long-running bank, tax and insurance fraud, New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged in a blockbuster and long-awaited lawsuit on Wednesday.
And while the suit is only civil, James is referring the former president and his family to the IRS’s criminal division, and to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, for possible violations of tax law.
The suit, which runs to more than 200 pages, alleges that the former president systematically inflated his net worth for purposes of getting better loan terms, while at the same time deflating his worth and the value of his holdings to get more favorable tax treatment.
The fraud allegedly included his compound at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, his controversial hotel in Washington D.C. and even his own triplex at Trump Tower in Manhattan – three examples of what the AG alleges were more than 200 instances of fraud over the course of 10 years.
The AG’s office is seeking about $250 million in penalties, to bar Trump and his children from being officers of any New York-based company for five years, and to bar them from borrowing from any New York-registered financial institution for five years.
The attorney general’s office subpoenaed Donald Trump and his children earlier this year, a move that touched off a bitter court fight. Trump eventually appeared for that deposition, only to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights to refuse to answer any questions.
This is a developing story.