Reports say the legal risk increases for former US president Donald Trump and his family. File photo
Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.
The latest announcement marked another escalation of the legal jeopardy Trump faces four months after leaving office, taking to three the number of known criminal investigations of the former Republican president.
"We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature," Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said in a statement.
"We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA," he said.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media. File photo
The Trump Organization, the former president's family-owned business, could not immediately be reached for comment. Trump has said that the investigation overseen by James, a Democrat, is politically motivated.
James has been investigating whether the Trump Organization inflated the values of some properties to obtain better loans, and lowered their values to obtain property tax breaks.
Separately, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been investigating Trump’s pre-presidency business dealings for more than two years.
Vance’s office has said in court filings it was investigating "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct" at the Trump Organization, including tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records.
In February, prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, opened a criminal investigation into Trump's attempts to influence the state's 2020 election results, after he was recorded in a Jan. 2 phone call pressuring Georgia's secretary of state to overturn the outcome of voting based on unfounded claims of tampering.
Vance's probe began after Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid hush money to silence two women before the 2016 election about extramarital sexual encounters they claimed to have had with Trump.
James has said she opened her inquiry after Cohen testified before Congress that Trump's financial statements were manipulated to save money on loans or reduce his real estate taxes.
Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for Trump, pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and other crimes and is currently serving his three-year sentence under home confinement.
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