Trump’s Fines Could Exceed His Fortune

Trump May Need to File Bankruptcy, Again.

Donald Trump, the former U.S. president and billionaire businessman, is facing a series of legal troubles that could cost him more than his current net worth. According to Forbes, Trump’s net worth as of September 2021 is estimated at $2.5 billion, with most of his wealth tied up in real estate and golf courses. However, Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, are also facing criminal and civil lawsuits that accuse them of fraud, tax evasion, and other illegal activities that could result in hefty fines and penalties.

One of the most serious cases against Trump is the civil lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, in September 2022. James sued Trump and his company for allegedly lying and exaggerating on their financial statements for about 10 years to get better deals from banks and insurers. She also said they did this to make themselves look richer and more successful than they really were. She presented more than 200 examples of false and misleading valuations of assets that Trump and his company used in their financial statements.

The judge in this case, Arthur Engoron, ruled on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, that Trump and his company were liable for fraud, which means they were responsible for doing something wrong and had to face the consequences. He also canceled the New York business certificates of Trump and his company, which means they were no longer allowed to do business in New York. He also ordered that Trump and his company must provide names of potential independent receivers to manage the dissolution of the canceled businesses.

This case is a civil lawsuit, which means it is about money and not about sending someone to jail. The New York attorney general is asking for Trump and his company to pay back the money they got from the banks and insurers by lying to them, plus a civil penalty that could be up to three times the amount of the fraud. The judge will decide how much money they have to pay after a trial, which is set to start soon1.

The potential fines that Trump and his company might face depend on the amount of money they obtained by fraud and the severity of their actions. Since this is a civil lawsuit, Trump and his company will not face prison time, but they will have to pay back the money they obtained by fraud, plus a civil penalty that could be up to three times the amount of the fraud. The exact amount of the fines will be determined by the judge after the trial.

If the judge decides that Trump and his company committed fraud worth billions of dollars, as the New York attorney general claims, then the fines could easily exceed Trump’s current net worth of $2.5 billion. For instance, if the judge finds that Trump and his company defrauded the banks and insurers by $3 billion, then the civil penalty could be as high as $9 billion, plus the repayment of the original $3 billion. That would amount to $12 billion, which is almost five times Trump’s net worth.

Of course, this is just one of the many legal cases that Trump is facing. He is also facing criminal charges from the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., who indicted Trump and his company in March 2023 for tax fraud, falsifying business records, and other crimes. The indictment alleges that Trump and his company paid some of their executives with off-the-books compensation, such as free apartments, cars, and school tuition, and did not report them as income to the tax authorities. The indictment also accuses Trump and his company of inflating the value of their properties to get loans and tax benefits, and deflating them to reduce their tax liability. The indictment seeks to recover the unpaid taxes, plus interest and penalties, from Trump and his company.

The criminal charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for Trump, and a fine of up to $10 million for his company. However, the actual sentence and fine will depend on the outcome of the trial, which has not yet started. The Manhattan district attorney has also suggested that he is investigating other possible crimes by Trump and his company, such as insurance fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering.

In addition to the New York cases, Trump is also facing lawsuits from other states and federal authorities, as well as from private individuals and organizations. Some of these lawsuits include:

  • A lawsuit from the District of Columbia attorney general, Karl Racine, who accuses Trump and his company of misusing funds from his 2017 inaugural committee to enrich themselves and their associates. The lawsuit seeks to recover the money and impose civil penalties.
  • A lawsuit from the Maryland and District of Columbia attorneys general, who allege that Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by profiting from foreign and domestic governments that stayed at his Washington hotel while he was president. The lawsuit seeks to stop Trump from receiving any such profits and to compel him to disclose his financial records.
  • A lawsuit from the House Oversight Committee, which is seeking to enforce a subpoena for Trump’s financial records from his accounting firm, Mazars USA. The committee says it needs the records to investigate Trump’s conflicts of interest, tax compliance, and foreign dealings while he was president1.
  • A lawsuit from the House Ways and Means Committee, which is seeking to obtain Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service. The committee says it needs the tax returns to oversee the tax system and ensure that the president is complying with the law.
  • A lawsuit from the New York Times, which is seeking to unseal the grand jury materials from the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation of Trump and his company. The newspaper says it needs the materials to inform the public about the criminal case and its implications.
  • A lawsuit from E. Jean Carroll, a former magazine columnist who accuses Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. She is suing him for defamation after he denied her allegation and called her a liar. She is seeking damages and a retraction of his statements.
  • A lawsuit from Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump’s reality show The Apprentice, who accuses him of sexually assaulting her in 2007. She is suing him for defamation after he denied her allegation and called her a liar. She is seeking damages and a retraction of his statements.
  • A lawsuit from Mary Trump, the niece of Donald Trump, who accuses him and his siblings of cheating her out of her inheritance from their father, Fred Trump. She is suing them for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and civil conspiracy. She is seeking damages and a share of the Trump family fortune.

These lawsuits are just some of the examples of the legal challenges that Trump is facing. There are many more that have not been mentioned here, and there could be more that have not yet been filed. Each of these lawsuits could result in significant financial losses for Trump, as well as reputational damage and possible criminal consequences.

It is hard to predict the outcome of these lawsuits, as they depend on many factors, such as the evidence, the arguments, the judges, the juries, and the appeals. However, it is clear that Trump is facing a formidable array of legal adversaries, who are determined to hold him accountable for his actions and expose his secrets. Trump has vowed to fight back and defend himself, but he may find it difficult to do so with his dwindling resources and shrinking support.

Trump’s legal troubles could have a serious impact on his net worth, which is already declining due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the political backlash, and the market forces. According to Forbes, Trump’s net worth has dropped by 22% since 2022, from $3.2 billion to $2.5 billion. His real estate empire, which accounts for most of his wealth, has suffered from lower occupancy rates, higher interest rates, and lower valuations. His golf courses and resorts, which are his second-largest source of income, have also faced lower revenues, higher costs, and environmental issues. His other businesses, such as his licensing deals, his media ventures, and his merchandise, have also seen a decline in popularity and profitability.

Trump’s net worth could drop even further if he loses some or all of the lawsuits that he is facing, and if he has to pay hefty fines and penalties. Some of these fines and penalties could exceed his current net worth, which means he could end up owing more money than he has. This could force him to sell some or all of his assets, or even declare bankruptcy, which he has done six times before with his casinos and hotels.