Although no longer in operation, Trump University reported $40 million in revenue between 2005 and 2011. Complaints from students prompted legal action by the New York attorney general, who has alleged that the for-profit college told students that the famous Trump name on their degrees would empower them to have successful real estate careers. Courses, however, allegedly fell far short of promises. The university conducted seminars in hotels and sponsored field trips to bad neighborhoods to highlight dubious investment opportunities. Testimony from students included statements that classes included sales pitches to take more classes. Some students paid tuition as high as $35,000.
After attracting over 5,000 students, the university stands accused of millions of dollars in fraud. Trump has repeatedly insisted that he expects the company to be exonerated.
While the New York lawsuit is a civil case, fraud can also be conduct that leads to criminal charges as well. Federal fraud charges can result in significant penalties, including incarceration and steep fines, if a conviction is obtained. A person who is facing these types of charges may want to have the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in refuting them. As a key element of the crime is the specific intent to defraud, one line of attack could be the failure to introduce evidence sufficient to prove that such intent existed.