Former CFO of the Trump Organization pleads guilty to tax fraud

Former CFO of the Trump Organization pleads guilty to tax fraud

Allen Weisselberg, former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, upon his arrival at the Manhattan Courthouse on Thursday.Allen Weisselberg, former finance director of the Trump Organization, on his arrival at Manhattan POOL courthouse this Thursday (Portal)

Allen Weisselberg, who was finance director of the Trump Organization for five decades and one of the tycoon’s most loyal squires, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of tax fraud in a Manhattan, New York court this Thursday after reaching a settlement with prosecutors in exchange for a reduced penalty.

Weisselberg, who turned himself in last year, has admitted he hatched a plan to avoid paying taxes by cheating on $1.76 million in revenue over 15 years. He also benefited from undeclared benefits in kind, including rent for a luxurious apartment and two high-end vehicles, and tuition at exclusive schools for his grandchildren. The confessed tax evader, who is sentenced to five months in prison, five years probation and a $2 million fine under the above agreement, has so far refused to implicate Donald Trump in the plot.

Weisselberg, 75, is the only play so far to have received justice in New York’s two civil and criminal courts against the tycoon for alleged irregularities in his business. As a firewall or scapegoat to prevent justice from reaching his former employer, Weisselberg could be subpoenaed to testify against the Trump Organization, the name given to the family business, in a criminal trial beginning Oct. 24.

Weisselberg’s testimony could tip the balance against the company, but the chief financial officer is not expected to cooperate with Manhattan prosecutors in the investigation. It seems likely that the subpoena will strengthen the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal case against the Trump Organization; a matter that has stalled due to the abandonment of two investigators in February and the doubts of the current prosecutor who took over the case. In a parallel case of a civilian nature commissioned by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Trump was forced to appear last week after months of refusing to do so despite not accepting the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution against himself testify themselves. Her eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, are also being investigated, not charged, in this case, which is investigating the possible composition of the value of the fortune in order to obtain tax breaks and loans on favorable terms. The tycoon has not been charged at the moment either.

Both investigations, the criminal one by the Manhattan Attorney’s Office and the civil one by the New York Attorney’s Office, began in 2019 when the Republican was still in the White House. In July 2021, Manhattan prosecutors filed charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, tax fraud and falsification of business records after finding evidence that some executives at the Commerce Center had received payments “that weren’t on the books.” Prosecutors allege Weisselberg hid and evaded taxes on $1.76 million in income, including rent for a luxury Manhattan apartment, two Mercedes-Benzes and college tuition for his grandchildren, which he paid for with Trump’s signature.

Weisselberg has worked for Trump for nearly half a century and, despite his devotion to the judiciary, still remains on the payroll as a senior adviser. The family business owns golf clubs, hotels and other properties around the world. If the irregularities are proven in court, the organization faces fines and other sanctions. Jury selection begins Oct. 24, two weeks before the crucial midterm elections that will seek control of Congressional Democrats and pits scores of Trump-backed candidates against their rivals. Trump, who has other important court cases pending, has not yet said if he plans to seek re-election in 2024.

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