The Trump Organization was found guilty Tuesday of criminal tax fraud — and now former President Donald Trump’s real estate company could face a $1.6 million fine.
The Trump Organisation was convicted on all 17 counts it faced — including tax fraud, falsifying business records, conspiracy and related crimes — following two days of deliberations in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The company is set to be sentenced on January 13.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg lauded the jury’s verdict — the first criminal conviction against one of Trump’s companies.
“This case was about greed and cheating,” Bragg said. “Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”
Trump Org lawyer Susan Necheles says she and her clients disagree with the verdict and plan to appeal.
Hours before the verdict, Trump railed on Truth Social that Bragg was out to get him.
“Murder and Violent Crime is at an all time high in NYC, and the D.A.’s office has spent almost all of its time & money fighting a political Witch Hunt for D.C. against ‘Trump’ over Fringe Benefits,” he wrote, adding that “no MURDER CASE has gone to trial in 6 years, much to the consternation of victims mothers and families who are devastated that NOTHING is being done to bring JUSTICE. Too busy on ‘Donald.’”
During the trial, prosecutors alleged that for 15 years, the Trump Org helped top execs skirt income taxes on cushy, off-the-books benefits including rent, private school tuition and luxury cars.
The jury of eight men and four women heard from star prosecution witness and former Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg, who testified last month, “It was my own personal greed that led to this case.”
Trump Org lawyers have maintained that Weisselberg acted on his own and that the blame lay solely with him.
Still, Weisselberg, 75, admitted that even after Donald Trump’s children Eric and Donald Trump Jr. found out in 2017 that he and other executives were cheating on taxes, they weren’t penalized. Instead, Weisselberg — who is currently on a leave of absence and getting paid a $640,000 salary from the company — was given a $200,000 raise.
The 45th president and his children are not charged in the case.
But during closing arguments, prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office claimed Trump was well aware of what Weisselberg was up to and that he “explicitly” sanctioned the tax fraud.
“This whole narrative that Donald Trump is blissfully ignorant is just not real,” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass told jurors.
Steinglass said the tax fraud also benefited the company by keeping payroll down and increasing tax deductions.
“The executives net more and the company pays less,” Steinglass said. “A win-win for everyone except the tax man. In the end, that’s all this is.”
Necheles pointed the finger at Weisselberg.
“We are here today because of one reason and one reason only: the greed of Allen Weisselberg,” she said in her summations.
In a statement after the verdict, Necheles repeated Trump and his family didn’t know about Weisselberg’s fraud.
“Why would a corporation whose owner knew nothing about Weisselberg’s personal tax returns be criminally prosecuted for Allen Weisselberg’s personal conduct, for which they had no visibility or oversight?” Necheles said. “This case was unprecedented and legally incorrect.
“We will appeal the verdict.”
A Trump Org spokesperson called it “preposterous” the company is being held responsible for Weisselberg’s actions. And another Trump Org lawyer, Alan Futerfas, asserted the law allowing the company to be found guilty if executives took criminal acts “in behalf of” the company was vague and “central to the case.”
Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August to raking in $1.7 million in benefits that he didn’t report to the tax authorities. He is slated to receive a five-month prison sentence in exchange for his cooperation with the government.
New York Attorney General Letitia James – who has a $250 million civil case against the company, Trump and his children Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr. for allegedly illegally inflating company assets – also hailed the outcome.
“Today’s guilty verdict against the Trump Organization shows that we will hold individuals and organizations accountable when they violate our laws to line their pockets,” James tweeted. “I commend @ManhattanDA for this big victory, and I am proud of the role that my office played in securing it.”
Source: New York Post