Reuters reported on Tuesday that New York’s attorney general’s office acknowledges that it has opened a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s company finances.
It was previously known that there was a civil investigation into the Trump Organization, but the change to a criminal investigation is much more serious.
The New York AG is reportedly joined by the Manhattan District Attorney in the effort.
This probe increases legal risks for Trump and his family.
New York state probe of Trump Organization is now criminal -attorney generalhttps://t.co/Q46vYg9hpd
— Debbie Downer (@JohnstonSharon) May 19, 2021
New York AG Announces Active Investigation
Reuters reported, “Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.”
“The latest announcement marked another escalation of the legal jeopardy Trump faces four months after leaving office, taking to three the number of known criminal investigations of the former Republican president,” Reuters noted.
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Spokesman for the attorney general’s office, Fabien Levy, said in a statement, “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature.”
He added, “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.”
Reuters noted that it could not reach representatives of the Trump Organization for comment.
Former President Donald Trump has said that he believes James’ investigation is political in nature.
In a new statement, Trump says he just learned the probe of Trump Org now has a criminal capacity, although the attorney general's spokesman said they'd informed Trump Org officials. He accuses Cyrus Vance & Letitia James of being possessed with destroying his political fortunes.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 19, 2021
Manhattan DA Claims To Be Investigating ‘Possibly Extensive’ Criminal Conduct
Reuters explained that “James has been investigating whether the Trump Organization inflated the values of some properties to obtain better loans, and lowered their values to obtain property tax breaks.”
“Separately, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been investigating Trump’s pre-presidency business dealings for more than two years,” the news outlet also noted.
In court filings, Vance’s office said the investigation is into “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” that could include including tax fraud, insurance fraud, and falsification of business records.
Law-enforcement in Palm Beach County are looking at what to do if Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance indicts Trump while he is at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
— Wilson Chu (@MyWchu) May 14, 2021
AG James Said Probe Was Launched After Cohen Testimony In 2018
Vance’s investigation started after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, allegedly paid hush money to two women before the 2016 election. That money was supposedly to keep them quiet about extramarital affairs Trump had.
According to James, she said that she launched her investigation after Cohen testified before Congress that “Trump’s financial statements were manipulated to save money on loans or reduce his real estate taxes,” according to Reuters.
Cohen plead guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and other crimes.
Trump’s former lawyer is currently serving a three-year sentence under house arrest.
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