Jury finds Trump Organization guilty of tax fraud scheme

A jury in New York on Tuesday found the Trump Organization guilty of all charges in a sweeping, 15-year tax fraud scheme that prosecutors said was orchestrated by top executives at the company.

Jurors deliberated for just over a day before returning the guilty verdicts on a total of 17 counts, including scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. The company faces roughly $1.6 million in fines when it’s sentenced. The sentencing is expected to take place on Jan. 13, 2013.

“The former president’s companies now stand convicted of crimes. That is consequential. It underscores that in Manhattan we have one standard of justice for all,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told reporters, calling the underlying case one of “greed and cheating.”

The Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, its former longtime chief financial officer, were indicted last year after a multiyear investigation into the company’s financial practices by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors alleged that two corporations that are a part of the company, Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp., paid their “already highly paid executives,” including Weisselberg, even more by “cheating on their taxes” through a series of schemes that included off-the-books perks like luxury cars and free apartments.

In a statement, Bragg said that “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,” and the “verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”

A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Futerfas, said they plan to appeal the verdict.

Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty to 15 felony charges in August and was the prosecutors’ star witness. The companies argued that Weisselberg, who is still on the Trump Organization’s payroll, was the lone bad actor. They contended he masterminded the scheme for his own personal benefit, not the company’s.

“We are here today because of one reason and one reason only, because of the greed of Allen Weisselberg,” defense lawyer Susan Necheles said in closing arguments.

Trump, who was not charged, complained about the case on social media Tuesday morning. After falsely claiming on Truth Social that murder and violent crimes are at an all-time high in New York City, the former president said the district attorney’s office had been “fighting a political Witch Hunt for D.C. against ‘Trump.'”

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AUTHOR : Adam Reiss and Chloe Atkins and Dareh Gregorian

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