The day has come. Earlier this week, we learned that New York prosecutors would charge the Trump Organization on Thursday for its part in a tax scheme fraud.
Well, the details have surfaced, and it’s not looking good for the organization, which has been charged with 15 felony counts in connection with an alleged tax scheme that pans out over 15 years, CNN reported.
The Trump Payroll Corporation and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg have also been charged in what the outlet is calling an “extraordinary legal development” against Donald Trump’s namesake company.
The numerous charges include the scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and falsifying business records. The indictment also accuses the CFO of evading $1.7 million in taxes since 2005. It also accuses him of hiding the fact that he was a resident of New York City, which allowed him to avoid paying city income taxes.
Weisselberg pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon. Prosecutors allege that he attempted to hide his involvement in the long-lived scheme. Prosecutors plan to support their claims with digital drives containing grand jury testimony, bookkeeping records, tax records, and statements of potential witnesses.
“Even now, there’s been no attempt to impose discipline on members of the company,” Manhattan prosecutor Carey Dunne said. “There is no clearer example of a company that should be held (responsible).”
Unfortunately, Donald Trump was not charged.
The announcement of the charges follows a two-year investigation of the Trump Organization, which district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr, is spearheading.
It began after questions about the organization’s accounting practices and hush-money payments paid by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. The probe eventually landed its way to a Supreme Court when it came time to battle over a subpoena of Trump’s tax documents.
According to lawyers specializing in tax evasion cases, it’s not common for prosecutors to bring forth charges solely based on fringe benefits provided by a company.
Apparently, lawyers representing the Trump Organization could not persuade Vance’s office to drop the case during a meeting held weeks before.
In the organization’s defense, a statement was made on Weisselberg’s behalf, which accused Manhattan prosecutors of using him as a “pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former president.”
“The District Attorney is bringing a criminal prosecution involving employee benefits that neither the IRS nor any other District Attorney would ever think of bringing. This is not justice; this is politics,” said the statement, attributed to a spokesperson from the Trump Organization.
At first, the investigation stretched out over many tax evasion issues, including the possible violations that the real estate company misled lenders and insurers, but over time it focused its investigation on tax benefits, CNN reported. This focus mainly centered on Trump’s longtime lieutenant Weissenberg, a top company executive who has worked for him since 1973.
Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weissenberg aided prosecutors by handing over boxes of financial records and has since met with them multiple times on the matter, her lawyer reported.
The documents are those from her divorce from Allen Weissenberg’s son Barry. The documents reveal thousands of dollars were spent on cars, rent, tuition, medical bills, and more from the father to his son’s family.
The charges brought against the CFO will put a lot of pressure on him to work with prosecutors to investigate Trump, his company, and its executives.
According to Weissenberg’s attorneys, he has rejected the idea of cooperating.