NEW YORK (PIX11) --- New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing former President Donald Trump and three of his adult children for alleged business fraud.
James said Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and his company falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to get banks to give him favorable interest rates. James is seeking to bar the former president and his children from ever running a company in New York again. She also wants Trump to pay back the $250 million he received.
“This investigation revealed that Donald Trump engaged in years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth, to deceive banks and the people of the great state of New York," James said at the news conference. “Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It’s the art of the steal.”
James said there are 200 examples of alleged fraud in the complaint, including declaring his home was three times bigger than it was. She is also referring the matter to the federal authorities to conduct a criminal investigation.
The alleged criminal violations are falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements, insurance fraud, conspiracy, and bank fraud, James said. The case will also be referred to the Internal Revenue Service.
"They all should be held accountable," James said. "No one is above the law."
Last month, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions during a deposition related to James’ investigation.
Trump's attorney, Alina Habba, and New York Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy blasted James' lawsuit.
Langworthy called it "one of the most brazen political publicity stunts I have seen during my lifetime." Habba said the lawsuit 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," Habba said.
Longtime company executives Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney are also named defendants in the suit filed in state court Wednesday. Weisselberg, a senior Trump Organization adviser and formerly the company’s longtime chief financial officer, has pleaded guilty to evading taxes and other charges.
Weisselberg admitted taking in over $1.7 million worth of untaxed extras — including school tuition for his grandchildren, free rent for a Manhattan apartment, and lease payments for a luxury car — and explicitly keeping some of the plums off the books.
James is looking to permanently bar Weisselberg and McConney from working as financial heads of any New York companies.