Trump University Is Fraud, Says New York Attorney General: 'We're Out To Get Them Their Money Back'

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Donald Trump has "bilked millions out of money and we're going to make sure he pays it back."

Trump University is "straight-up fraud," Schneiderman said in an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

"In New York, we are a little sensitive. You can't just put up a sign saying, 'Scarborough Hospital, Scarborough University'... It's not a university," he explained.

Schneiderman continued, "People were led to believe they were getting the personal secrets of Trump during hard economic times. We're talking about 2008, 2009, 2010. People wanted to scramble to find a way to make money. He duped them in. Thousands of people paid millions of dollars. And we're out to get them their money back."

Trump University was an unaccredited nonprofit school for real estate and investment. The university ran from 2005 until 2010 or later, according to the Huffington Post.

The now-defunct university is the target of a class-action lawsuit in California and an ongoing civil suit brought by New York State who, according to the National Review, allege that Trump University defrauded up to 5,000 students, who paid as much as $35,000 to learn Trump's real-estate investment strategies and techniques.

One of the techniques was the marketing of a 90-minute free seminar that would reveal Trump's real-estate investing secrets, the National Review article said.

"At the seminar, sales representatives were waiting, reportedly tasked with persuading attendees to pay an additional $1,495 for a three-day conference that would provide 'the last real-estate education you will ever need for the rest of your life.'

"According to New York State's complaint, 'Trump University speakers repeatedly insinuated that Donald Trump would appear at the three-day seminar, claiming that he 'is going to be in town' or 'often drops by' and 'might show up' or had just left."

Earlier this week, documents pertaining to the California lawsuit against the venture were unsealed by a federal judge. The records showed how the school's salespeople were instructed to deliberately mislead potential students, manipulating their emotions and ignoring their reservations about spending tens of thousands of dollars.

The revelations have released a firestorm of controversy and criticism, as well as speculation that the information could affect Trump's campaign.

In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, Schneiderman said, "In New York, we have laws against business fraud, we have laws against consumer fraud."

"We have a law against running an illegal, unlicensed university. This never was a university. The fraud started with the name of the organization, and you can't just go around saying this is the George Stephanopoulos Law Firm/Hospital/University without actually qualifying and registering, so it was really a fraud from beginning to end."

Schneiderman added that Trump's only role pertaining to the university was in marketing.

"He was the pitchman. We have the videos of him making these false promises. He was not involved in the curriculum. He never met or trained the instructors. But he was clearly in charge of pitching this scam university to people, convincing them that it was his personal secrets and saying things like 'come to the weekend seminar.' 'Learn what it took me a whole lifetime to learn in real estate.' 'You can get rich, too.' That was his role."

Hillary Clinton has added the Trump University fraud claims to her campaign arsenal.

"Trump and his employees took advantage of vulnerable Americans, encouraging them to max out their credit cards, empty their retirement savings, destroy their financial futures – all while making promises they knew were false from the beginning. This is just more evidence that Donald Trump himself is a fraud. He is trying to scam America the way he scammed all those people at Trump U."

Trump is "pushing back" against the allegations, according to Think Progress.

"I'm sued all the time and so is every other big business person. This is why they say if you're a successful person, you can't run for political office."

[Image via A Katz/Shutterstock]