NY AG Letitia James adds ‘criminal capacity’ to probe of Trump organization

The James investigation examines whether the Trump Organization lied about property value to get loans, avoid taxes.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is adding a criminal component to her civil probe into the financial practices of the Trump Organization. 

The investigation has been underway since 2019, looking into whether the Trump Organization — with former President Donald Trump and his sons in leadership — misled banks and insurance companies by inflating property value to attain loans. Further, the probe explores whether the company deflated property values to pay less in taxes. 

The office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James (left) has made it clear she has added a criminal component to her civil probe into the financial practices of the Trump Organization, helmed by former President Donald Trump (right). (Photos by Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images and Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature,” Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for James’ office, told CNN. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan D.A.” 

Levy added, “We have no additional comment.” 

According to CNN, Trump Organization officials offered no comment on the expansion of the probe. 

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New York State and the Manhattan district attorney’s office battled all the way to the Supreme Court to obtain copies of Trump’s official tax returns. The court cleared the forms for release to New York prosecutors in February. 

James’ investigation extends to the former president’s son, Eric Trump, who was deposed by investigators before the 2020 presidential election, and Allen Weisselberg, a longtime Trump Organization leader. Trump’s former attorney-turned-whistleblower Michael Cohen testified before Congress that it was common practice for his ex-client to inflate his assets to secure loans and deflate assets to reduce real estate taxes. 

According to the report, several specific properties are being scrutinized, including Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County. 

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As previously reported, Trump bought the property in 1995 for $7.5 million but has valued it at up to $291 million to secure loans. Inflating assets for financial gain is illegal. 

In addition to the Seven Springs property, the investigation is probing whether Trump and his company inflated the value of other properties, including Trump Tower in New York and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

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