The charges against the Trump organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg include tax fraud, fraud scheme, conspiracy and forgery of company records.
The Trump Organization and its longtime finance director have pleaded not guilty to fraud and theft in the first criminal case arising out of a years-long investigation into former President Donald Trump and his affairs.
Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and the company’s attorneys appeared in a lower Manhattan courtroom Thursday afternoon on charges of 15 criminal charges by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. The charges read out in the courtroom against the two defendants include tax fraud, defraud scheme, conspiracy and forgery of company records. Weisselberg, 73, has been charged individually with a number of charges, including theft, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
During the indictment before New York State court judge Juan Merchan, Assistant District Attorney Carey Dunne said the indictment involved a 15-year “sweeping and audacious” scheme to avoid the taxes on benefits such as cars, apartments and private schools extended to CFOs. Such benefits are generally counted as compensation and an intentional failure to pay taxes on them would be illegal. Dunne said Weisselberg personally received $ 1.76 million in such benefits.
“The scheme was intended to allow some employees to substantially underestimate their compensation from the Trump Organization so that they could pay and pay federal, state and local taxes in amounts that were significantly lower than the amounts they were to be paid.” , the prosecutor said.
The CFO, who was handcuffed in the courtroom with the handcuffs, was released on his own acknowledgment at the end of the hearing, after handing over his passport.
Trump is not named in the indictment, but the case may just be the opening salvo by the district attorney general, who learned of possible bank and insurance fraud even in the company. The charges against Weisselberg significantly increase the pressure on the CFO to cooperate with prosecutors.
Cooperation from Weisselberg could lead to a more expansive case against society and raise the prospect of a historic persecution and political charge of a former president. With an unlikely trial before next year, the CFO will have months to decide whether to fight the charges or plead guilty and possibly reach an agreement with prosecutors. A Trump executive for four decades, Weisselberg has a unique vision of the former president’s finances and business dealings.
Trump flashed the probe from Vance, a Democrat, as a politically motivated witch hunt. The Trump organization issued a statement Thursday calling the Weisselberg indictment “a groundbreaking attempt to harm the former president” and saying Vance was “carrying out a criminal prosecution that involved benefits for employees other than the IRS.” nor would any other district attorney ever think of bringing it up. “