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Trump Accused of Real Estate Fraud in Baja California

The complaint originates from a proposed development project involving Trump in Tijuana
By The News · 07 of November 2016 12:48:11
Former Deputy Jaime Martínez Veloz and María García of the Binational Stop Trump Coalition, after turning in the criminal complaint against Donald Trump at the PGR offices in Mexico City, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, No available, photo: The News

Former Deputy Jaime Martínez Veloz filed a criminal complaint against U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) on Friday. The complaint originates from a proposed development project involving Trump in Tijuana, Baja California.

According to the criminal complaint, the Trump Organization and the Los Angeles real estate company Irongate Wilshire made plans for a luxury touristic development near the border between the cities of Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California in 2006. The development, which was named Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico, would consist of three towers of 25 stories each, and 526 condominiums. The Trump Organization released a promotional video featuring Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka. Before construction began, the developers began collecting down payments for condominiums in the towers from U.S. and Mexican investors.

In 2008, Trump removed his name from the project. A year later, the project was abandoned, and the investors were not returned their down payments.

“Now, where there was supposed to be a marvelous building, as he would say, there is a hole, a well, that expresses the fraud that he committed,” Martínez Veloz told reporters outside of the PGR offices Friday.

A group of 69 U.S. investors in the project filed a class-action lawsuit in California courts against Donald Trump and his children Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric for a total of $32 million. The Trumps settled out of court in 2013 for an undisclosed amount.

Martínez Veloz is a former federal and state deputy and currently serves in the Interior Secretariat (Segob), however, he is filing his complaint against Trump in his capacity as a private citizen. In his investigations, he discovered many likely crimes that were committed related to the development, including fraud against investors and failure to secure permits from a variety of government agencies. Martínez Veloz previously filed complaints with Baja California authorities as well as with the PGR’s offices in Baja California.

“I’ve come personally to turn in the complaint to the central offices of the country’s highest prosecutor with the goal that this complaint will be followed through on,” he said.

Now, the PGR must work with the Tax Administration Service (SAT) to determine if any tax crime was committed.