The New York state attorney general’s office announced Tuesday evening that it has expanded its probe into the Trump Organization from a civil matter over financial fudging into a criminal investigation. New York Attorney General Letitia James had been conducting a civil inquiry into the Trump-owned business and whether it fiddled with its asset valuations, on one hand inflating their value for more favorable loan terms and then lowballing the same asset’s worth on tax forms to receive favorable tax breaks. The expansion of the probe into possible criminal wrongdoing creates a new set of consequences, as civil matters typically involve fines and financial repercussions, while a criminal proceeding could result in much stiffer penalties, including jail time.
It’s not yet clear if the criminal probe extends to the former president or any of his family members, though a letter sent by the attorney general’s office to the company in April “suggested that criminality could apply to actions by current and former company executives and employees if the investigation finds wrongdoing,” the Washington Post reports. “The attorney general’s notification to the Trump Organization suggested a cooperative relationship has developed between investigators working for James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., whose office has been heading a criminal probe into the company and its officers since 2018.”
“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the company is no longer purely civil in nature,” a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said in a statement Tuesday. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA. We have no additional comment at this time.”