Deutsche Bank has been financially tied at the hip to Trump for decades. Now, a new investigation from the New York Times suggests much of that relationship may have been based on Trump’s inflated net worth.
The Times report found that, among other alleged crimes like forgery, many of the loans Deutsche Bank made to the Trump Organization for its various real estate projects were based on allegedly fraudulent documents Trump submitted on official bank paperwork to secure loans. When Deutsche Bank actually conducted research into Trump’s finances, they learned the real estate magnate was actually worth less than $800 million, according to court documents.
Mr. Trump told Deutsche Bank his net worth was about $3 billion, but when bank employees reviewed his finances, they concluded he was worth about $788 million, according to documents produced during a lawsuit Mr. Trump brought against the former New York Times journalist Timothy O’Brien. And a senior investment-banking executive said in an interview that he and others cautioned that Mr. Trump should be avoided because he had worked with people in the construction industry connected to organized crime.
Falsifying financial information on bank documents to secure loans one wouldn’t normally qualify for is bank fraud, which is a felony under both New York statutes and federal statutes. According to legal information site Justia, bank fraud is defined as a “scheme or artifice” intended to “defraud a financial institution.” The penalties under the federal statute are steep, with offenders having to serve up to 30 years in prison and face fines of up to $1 million, or a combination of the two.
Trump’s net worth has long been a point of contention since his presidential campaign began in 2015 — especially since he won’t release his tax returns. While Forbes estimates his net worth to be in excess of $3 billion, with most of it coming from Trump-branded real estate, the New York Times investigation suggests Trump may not even be a billionaire. Investor Mark Cuban has made similar allegations about Trump’s net worth in the past. Trump inherited more than $400 million from his father according to Quartz, but wasn’t able to loan his campaign more than $10 million in 2016, despite his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, hoping for a $50 million loan.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.