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Explained: Court finds Donald Trump exaggerated his net worth

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A New York judge has ruled that Donald Trump inflated his net worth to obtain better loans. It won’t impact his ability to run for President.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $US355 million ($AU543 million), plus interest, in fines after a New York court found he had overstated his net worth to obtain better loans.

This civil case won’t impact his ability to run for President. It is unrelated to a separate criminal case in New York that is set to begin next month.

Here’s what you need to know.

The case

In 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and several of his Trump Organization entities.

She alleged Trump and associates had exaggerated the net worth of the company to financially benefit them.

James said at the time the inflated net worth had been used to encourage banks to lend money to the Trump Organization “on more favourable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company”.

The judgement

On Friday, a ruling on the case was handed down by Justice Arthur F. Engoron. The case was decided by a judge, not a jury.

Justice Engoron ruled that Trump and his associates indeed submitted “blatantly false financial data” to “borrow more and at lower rates”.

He said the evidence for this judgment was “overwhelming”.

Justice Engoron heavily criticised Trump and others for not admitting to the fraudulent activity.

In his judgment, he said: “Their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological.

“They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money. The documents prove this over and over again… Defendants did not commit murder or arson. They did not rob a bank at gunpoint… Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways.”

The punishment

In addition to the fine, Trump is banned from serving as a director of any New York company for the next three years.

Trump and his companies have also been banned from applying for loans from any New York bank or financial institution for three years.

Two of his sons – Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump – were also banned from serving as an officer or director of any New York company for two years.

Trump’s response

The former President said in a statement on his social media platform Truth Social: “This ’decision’ is a Complete and Total SHAM. There were No Victims, No Damages, No Complaints…

“This shocking and corrupt Interference in the Free Markets for political gain places every New York business transaction at risk.”

Trump said he will appeal the decision.

Attorney General’s response

The Attorney General said in a statement:

“Today, justice has been served…

“When powerful people cheat to get better loans, it comes at the expense of honest and hardworking people. Everyday Americans cannot lie to a bank to get a mortgage to buy a home, and if they did, our government would throw the book at them. There simply cannot be different rules for different people.”

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