(NewsNation) — Former President Donald Trump and three of his adult children misled lenders and insurance companies in a sprawling fraud scheme that took place over the course of a decade, according to a civil lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James Wednesday.
“Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available,” James said at a press conference.
James alleges that Trump, with help from his three eldest children, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars in order to “unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system.”
The lawsuit outlines numerous allegations where Trump is said to have intentionally misrepresented the value of his assets.
From 2012 to 2016, Trump allegedly inflated the value of his penthouse apartment by lying about the unit’s square footage. He claimed it was 30,000 square feet when it was actually 11,000 square feet, the lawsuit says.
Trump also lied about the value of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida by ignoring development restrictions on the property, the lawsuit claims.
“The Mar-a-Lago club was valued as high as $739 million based on the false premise that it was unrestricted property and could be developed and sold for residential use, even though Mr. Trump himself signed deeds donating his residential development rights and sharply restricting changes to the property,” per the lawsuit.
In reality, the Mar-a-Lago property should have been valued closer to $75 million, prosecutors say.
The AG is seeking to permanently bar the Trumps from ever serving as officers or directors at companies in New York, effectively ending their ability to do business in the state.
In total, prosecutors say Trump received nearly $250 million worth of benefits from the fraudulent activity The state is seeking to have that amount returned.
James’ office has also referred their findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service for criminal investigation.
Trump has denied the allegations, contending that seeking the best valuations is a common practice in the real estate industry.
“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda. It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place. We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”Alina Habba, Attorney for President Donald Trump
Last month, the former president invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions under oath during a deposition related to the inquiry.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.