Jury Finds Trump Organization Guilty of Tax Fraud, Falsifying Records

Jury Finds Trump Organization Guilty of Tax Fraud, Falsifying Records
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A jury in New York on Dec. 6 found the Trump Organization guilty of multiple crimes, including tax fraud.

The business and a related company, the Trump Payroll Corp., were convicted of a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, two counts of tax fraud, and falsifying business records, all felonies.

Jurors also convicted the Trump Organization of a second falsifying records charge.

“For 13 years the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation got away with a scheme that awarded high-level executives with lavish perks and compensation while intentionally concealing the benefits from the taxing authorities to avoid paying taxes. Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Bragg’s predecessor, former Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, another Democrat, brought the charges in 2021.

Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that the companies defrauded authorities by labeling payments to top-level employees, including Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, as personal expenses and not reporting the payments so taxes did not need to be paid on them.

“The smorgasbord of benefits is designed to keep its top executives happy and loyal,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told jurors during closing arguments.

Weisselberg received $1.7 million in unreported payments, including the payment of rent on an apartment in the borough of Manhattan.

Former President Donald Trump was not charged in the case.

Before the verdict was handed down, he wrote on Truth Social that Bragg was spending time “fighting a political With Hunt for D.C.” when he should be focused on prosecuting violent criminals.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2023.

The Trump Organization—which operates hotels, golf courses, and other real estate around the world—faces fines over the conviction. The exact amount will be determined by the judge who oversaw the trial.

The Trump Organization separately faces a fraud lawsuit brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James, another Democrat.

Former President Donald Trump arrives on stage during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Weisselberg

Weisselberg initially pleaded not guilty but entered a guilty plea in August.

“Rather than risk the possibility of 15 years in prison, he has agreed to serve 100 days. We are glad to have this behind him,” his lawyer said at the time.

Weisselberg cooperated with prosecutors and testified during the trial.

Weisselberg testified that Trump himself signed the Christmas bonus checks and personally paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren. He also said Trump’s two sons—who took over the company’s operations in 2017 after Trump became president—gave him a raise after they knew about his tax dodge scheme.

“The whole narrative that Donald Trump was blissfully ignorant is just not real,” Steinglass said.

The Trump Organization argued that Weisselberg carried out the scheme to benefit himself.

“The question here is not whether as a byproduct the company saved some money,” Susan Necheles, a defense lawyer, said in her closing argument. “His intent was to benefit himself, not the company.”

Trump recently said that his family got “no economic gain from the acts done by the executive.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

By Zachary Stieber

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