Trump Ordered to Pay $355M for Fraud in New York Civil Trial

February 16, 2024 by Dan McCue
Trump Ordered to Pay $355M for Fraud in New York Civil Trial
Judge Arthur Engoron presides over former President Donald Trump's civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, in New York. (Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump must pay a penalty of $355 million for fraudulently overstating his wealth, a penalty that could effectively leave him with little, if any, actual cash on hand.

The ruling by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron also imposes a three-year ban on Trump from serving in any executive position for any company in New York state.

But Engoron went further, applying the penalty to two of Trump’s adult children, Eric and Don Jr., for two years.

Eric Trump has been running the Trump Organization as its executive vice president almost since the day his father ascended to the White House in January 2017.

In his 92-page ruling, Engoron found Trump and the other named defendants liable of intent to defraud financial institutions with falsified statements of the financial condition of various Trump entities.

“There is overwhelming evidence from both interested and non-interested witnesses, corroborated by documentary evidence, that the buck for being truthful in the supporting data valuations stopped with the Trump Organization, not the accountants,” Engoron wrote.

In a broadside, Engoron went on to reflect on what h saw as the defendants’ “complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological.”

“They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money,” he wrote. “The documents prove this over and over again. This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin.

“Defendants did not commit murder or arson. They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff,” he continued. “Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways. Instead, they adopt a ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ posture that the evidence belies.”

Significantly, Engoron backed away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved the former president’s companies. But if upheld, the verdict will force a shakeup at the top of the company.

In a summary judgment handed down in September, Engoron canceled the business certificates that allowed Trump and others to operate in New York State and appointed a receiver to manage the dissolution of the companies.

That decision was stayed on appeal a month later, and the issue remains under litigation.

An attorney for Trump vowed to appeal the financial penalty, but the defendants will still have to either come up with the money or secure a bond within 30 days. 

“This verdict is a manifest injustice – plain and simple,” attorney Alina Habba said.

“It is the culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt,” she added.

Engoron also appointed an independent monitor to keep an eye on the organization going forward, directing them to watch for anything that looks suspicious.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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