By The Vanguard Staff
NEW YORK, NY – The Trump Corporation and The Trump Payroll Corporation were both found guilty on all counts – conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records – Tuesday by a Manhattan jury that found the “two companies perpetrated a sophisticated tax fraud scheme” for more than a decade, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr.
Bragg said in addition to the fraud by the Trump Tower firms, their “high managerial agents Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and Controller Jeffrey McConney, “acting within the scope of their employment and in behalf of the corporations” were also guilty. Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 criminal charges, and testified at trial implicating the corporations. He faces five months in jail if the judge believes he truthfully testified.
McConney received immunity for his cooperation.
According to Bragg, the Trump companies were criminally convicted of a Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count; Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count; Criminal Tax Fraud in Third Degree, a class D felony, two counts; Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count; Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, three counts
The Trump Corporation was also convicted of an additional count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony.
Sentencing is expected to occur on Jan. 13, 2023.
“This was a case about greed and cheating. In Manhattan, no corporation is above the law,” said District Attorney Bragg. “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.”
Bragg added, “Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme, in addition to Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who has pled guilty, testified at trial and will now be sentenced to serve time in jail. Thank you to the skilled prosecutors at the Manhattan DA’s office for their hard work on this case, as well as our talented colleagues at the Office of the Attorney General.”
The district attorney office statement added, “Over the course of the multi-year scheme, (the Trump firms) defrauded federal, state and local tax authorities by paying a number of their trusted executives and managers – including Chief Financial Officer Weisselberg, his son, Chief Operating Officer Matthew Calamari, Sr. and his son — substantial amounts of their compensation in the form of ‘off the books personal expenses which the companies purposefully did not report in company tax reporting forms, so that those executives and managers could evade paying taxes on the income.”
“Weisselberg, a prime beneficiary of the scheme, received a total of approximately $1.76 million in unreported compensation, including payment of rent on a luxury apartment in Manhattan, utilities, parking garage expenses, Mercedes Benz cars for himself and his wife, home furnishings, cash for personal holiday tips and payment of his grandchildren’s private school tuition. The companies failed to report that income to the tax authorities, failed to withhold taxes and failed to pay Medicare taxes on that income.”
Donald Trump and his family were not charged in this case, but news reports noted the former president was mentioned repeatedly during the trial by prosecutors about his connection to the benefits doled out to certain executives, including company-funded apartments, car leases and personal expenses.
The Trump Organization could face a maximum of $1.61 million in fines when sentenced in mid-January. There is no method under New York law that would dissolve the company, but analysts said a felony conviction could impact its ability to do business or obtain loans or contracts.
Prosecutors getting Weisselberg said the scheme saved him money and the corporations, and told the jury the Trump companies were guilty, and the illegal scheme was concocted “so the employees can get more net pay while costing the Trump Corporation less. It’s a win-win – unless you’re the tax authorities.”