Trump civil fraud case: Judge fines Trump $354 million, says frauds 'shock the conscience'

The former president was found to have defrauded lenders.

Former President Donald Trump has been fined $354.8 million plus approximately $100 million in interest in a civil fraud lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel him to the White House. In the decision, Judge Arthur Engoron excoriated Trump, saying the president's credibility was "severely compromised," that the frauds "shock the conscience" and that Trump and his co-defendants showed a "complete lack of contrition and remorse" that he said "borders on pathological."

Engoron also hit Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump with $4 million fines and barred all three from helming New York companies for years. New York Attorney General Letitia James accused Trump and his adult sons of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they used "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation" to inflate Trump's net worth in order get more favorable loan terms. The former president has denied all wrongdoing and has said he will appeal.


Summary of penalties

Donald Trump and his adult sons were hit with millions in fines in the civil fraud trial and barred for years from being officers in New York companies. The judge said the frauds "shock the conscience."

Donald Trump: $354 million fine + approx. $100 million in interest
+ barred for 3 years from serving as officer of NY company
Donald Trump Jr.: $4 million fine
+ barred for 2 years from serving as officer of NY company
Eric Trump: $4 million fine
+ barred for 2 years from serving as officer of NY company
Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg: $1 million fine
+ barred for 3 years from serving as officer of NY company
+ barred for life from financial management role in NY company
Former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney:
+ barred for 3 years from serving as officer of NY company
+ barred for life from financial management role in NY company


Trump, NY AG James trade barbs following decision

Former President Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James, in separate media appearances, addressed the ruling Friday evening, trading barbs while reacting to the judgment.

Speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump said he had to pay a fine for "having built a perfect company." Accusing both James and Judge Arthur Engoron of being politically motivated, Trump denied committing any fraud and said he plans to appeal.

Meanwhile, in New York, James lauded the ruling as a victory for all Americans and the principles of equal justice under the law -- saying "former presidents are no exception."

"The scale and scope of Donald Trump's fraud is staggering -- and so, too, is his ego and his belief that the rules don't apply to him," she said.

James also heralded Judge Engoron's penalties as effective remedies to "ensure this fraud cannot continue."


Interest will add about $100M to Trump's fine

Based on Friday's decision, former President Trump and his co-defendants will likely owe $463.9 million based on their initial fine and the prejudgment interest imposed by the court, according to a representative for the New York attorney general.

Trump himself will likely owe $453.5 million, between his $354.86 million fine and $98.6 million in interest.

The amount of interest owed by the defendants is set to increase every day they do not pay the fines.


NY AG calls ruling a 'tremendous victory'

New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office brought the civil fraud case against Donald Trump, described the ruling as a "tremendous victory for this state, this nation, and for everyone who believes that we all must play by the same rules -- even former presidents."

“When powerful people cheat to get better loans, it comes at the expense of honest and hardworking people," James said in a statement. "Everyday Americans cannot lie to a bank to get a mortgage to buy a home, and if they did, our government would throw the book at them. There simply cannot be different rules for different people."

The former president is "finally facing accountability for his lying, cheating, and staggering fraud," she said.



Decision constrains Trump Organization in New York

In addition to the fines imposed on Donald Trump and his co-defendants, the judge's decision leaves the Trump Organization in a constrained position to continue operating their New York-based businesses.

While Judge Engoron backtracked on his September summary judgment ruling -- vacating the part of his order that canceled their business certificates -- Donald Trump and his sons are temporarily unable to lead their namesake company. Trump faces a three-year ban on serving as the leader of a New York company, and his sons face two-year bans.

An independent monitor will continue to oversee the company's finances for at least three years, and the company needs to install a director of compliance.

Regarding the combined $364 million owed by the defendants, experts who ABC News spoke with believe it is unlikely any of them foot the bill immediately; instead, they can cover the fine with a bond while they appeal.


Judge fines Trump $354 million

Former President Donald Trump must pay $354 million for fraudulent business practices, Judge Arthur Engoron has ruled.

Trump's sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have been fined $4 million apiece, and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has been fined $1 million.

The decision bars Trump barred from serving as an officer of a New York company for three years, and bars his sons for two years apiece.

Regarding the dissolution of Trump's companies, the decision says, "This Court hereby modifies its September 26, 2023, Decision and Order solely to the extent of removing the language ordering the LLCs cancellation en masse. The restructuring and potential dissolution of any LLCs shall be subject to individual review by the Court appointed Independent Director of Compliance in consultation with Judge Jones."

In his decision, Engoron wrote that "Defendants' refusal to admit error -- indeed, to continue it, according to the Independent Monitor -- constrains this Court to conclude that they will engage in it going forward unless judicially restrained."

"Overall, Donald Trump rarely responded to the questions asked, and he frequently interjected long, irrelevant speeches on issues far beyond the scope of the trial," the judge wrote. "His refusal to answer the questions directly, or in some cases, at all, severely compromised his credibility."

"The accountants created these 'compilations' based on data submitted by the Trump entities," the decision said. "In order to borrow more and at lower rates, defendants submitted blatantly false financial data to the accountants, resulting in fraudulent financial statements. When confronted at trial with the statements, defendants' fact and expert witnesses simply denied reality, and defendants failed to accept responsibility or to impose internal controls to prevent future recurrences."

Of Donald Trump Jr., Engoron wrote, "Despite disclaiming responsibility for or knowledge of the Statements of Financial Conditions' contents, Trump, Jr. still insisted that the Statements of Financial Condition were 'materially accurate.'"

Engoron's decision follows an 11-week civil trial in New York, where Trump and three of his adult children testified.

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, his two adult sons, and Trump Organization executives in September 2022 for issuing fraudulent financial statements -- including over 200 false and misleading asset values between 2011 and 2021 -- to get better loan terms and business deals.


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