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.

Trump tax rep acknowledged much lower value for Mar-a-Lago

In 2020, the same year Donald Trump valued his Mar-a-Lago social club at $517 million in his statement of financial condition, the former president's tax representative signed a waiver agreeing with a much lower market value of $27 million, according to documents entered into evidence at trial.

Judge Engoron already determined in a summary judgment that Trump overvalued Mar-a-Lago by "at least 2,300%" by valuing the club between $426 and $612 million in his financial statements, despite the Palm Beach county assessor appraising the value between $18 and $27.6 million between 2011 and 2021. The documents entered into evidence today, as well as testimony from former Trump Organization VP Raymond Flores, adds context regarding who at the Trump Organization could have been aware of the discrepancy.

Trump's tax representative tried to appeal the assessment in 2020 before eventually withdrawing the appeal. In that withdrawal, Trump's representative conceded that "the petitioner agrees with the determination of the property appraiser or tax collector."

"Was it your understanding that the appeal was withdrawn because the Trump Organization agreed with the value of the property assessor?" state attorney Andrew Amer asked Flores about the $27 million valuation.

"Yes," Flores answered.

Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney previously testified that Trump valued Mar-a-Lago as a private residence from 2011 through 2021, despite Trump signing a deed that restricted Mar-a-Lago's usage to a social club, thereby limiting its resale value.

During a 2021 email exchange, Flores forwarded an email to former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and Eric Trump in which Trump's tax broker, Michael Corbiciero, explained the tax implications of classifying Mar-a-Lago as Trump's residence, rather than a social club.

"Currently this property is assessed as a private club with the current assessed value at $359/sqft'' compared to nearby properties valued at nearly ten times the rate, the email stated. Corbisiero ultimately recommended against classifying Mar-a-Lago as a residence rather than a social club due to the tax implications, according to the email forwarded to Eric Trump and Weisselberg.