Trump Organization indictment alleges ploy to dodge taxes on executive pay

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The Trump organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty on Thursday to crimes related to what prosecutors have since 2005 called a “sweeping and daring” ploy to avoid taxes on the pay of the chief financial officer and other executives of the company owned by former President Donald Trump. .

The 15-count indictment, which was broader in scope than many legal observers expected, is the first round of criminal complaints in the ongoing investigations into Trump and his company by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The indictment indicates that the Trump Organization and Weisselberg designed the program to compensate Weisselberg and other executives of the company in an “official” manner, allowing them to receive “substantial portions of their income by indirect and disguised means “.

Weisselberg, 73, himself had the Trump Organization pay the rent, utilities and garage fees for his Riverside Drive apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side by the Trump Organization without this compensation being reported to the tax authorities. and without paying related taxes, indicates the indictment.

And this indictment, filed with the Manhattan Supreme Court, indicates that Weisselberg and the company also conspired to “conceal his New York resident status and allowed Weisselberg to avoid paying the tax on the returned from New York City “.

Weisselberg, who worked for the Trump family for 48 years, has another residence in Long Island, New York, but the indictment states that since 2005 he “has spent most of his days in New York.” which would make it a tax resident city.

Indictment says Trump Organization kept spreadsheets to track the value of compensation paid to Weisselberg and others, which was not disclosed to IRS or tax authorities of New York State and the city.

Allen Weisselberg, CFO of Trump Organization Inc., center, walks into a courtroom in a criminal court in New York, United States, Thursday, July 1, 2021.

Stephanie Keith | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Weisselberg personally “avoided taxes” on compensation payments valued at $ 1.76 million as part of the Trump Organization’s “orchestrated by the top executives” program, said Manhattan office prosecutor DA Cyrus Vance Jr.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Carey Dunne said in court during the indictment of the defendants that the crimes were part of a “sweeping and bold illegal payment scheme.”

The indictment against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg said the scheme lasted from March 2005 until the end of June.

“This case is not about politics, this ongoing investigation is correct,” Dunne said.

New York County District Attorney Cyrus Roberts Vance Jr. and New York State Attorney General Letitia James arrive in court for the hearing of Allen Weisselberg, Former US President Donald Trumps, Chief Financial Officer company in Lower Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on July 1, 2021.

Timothée A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

Dunne also said there is “no clearer example of a company that should be held criminally responsible.”

The Trump organization and related entities have been charged with Weisselberg with first-degree fraud scheme, fourth-degree conspiracy, third- and fourth-degree criminal tax evasion, and falsifying business records.

Weisselberg is also charged with second degree robbery. He was released without bail after being ordered to surrender his passport and asked him to approve any plans to travel abroad with a judge.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said: “Today is an important milestone in the ongoing criminal investigation into the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg.”

“In the indictment, we allege, among other things, financial wrongdoing whereby the Trump Organization has engaged in a scheme with Mr. Weisselberg to avoid paying taxes on certain allowances. This investigation will continue and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they are. may lead. ”

Former President Trump, in a statement, said: “The political witch-hunt led by the radical left Democrats, with New York now in charge of the mission, continues. It is dividing our country like never before!”

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Outside of court after the arraignment, Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas, who pleaded not guilty on behalf of the company, told reporters: “The allegations in the indictment are not that these are allegations. “

“These accusations are going to be vigorously challenged,” Futerfas said.

Futerfas also said the charges were “unprecedented” and generally would not have been laid by the IRS or other authorities. He said he believed the indictment was filed for political reasons.

“If the name of the company were anything else, I don’t think those charges would have been made. In fact, I’m pretty sure,” he said.

Weisselberg, who visited the prosecutor’s office early Thursday morning, was taken to the courtroom handcuffed by authorities while wearing a white mask.

Weisselberg’s lawyer told a judge the defense team opposed prosecutors’ requests.

Vance and James were both in court on arraignment.

Last year, Vance won a legal battle that saw him obtain years of ex-President Trump’s tax records and other financial records from his longtime accounting firm.

The Trump Organization, in a statement, criticized Vance for bringing the case.

“Allen Weisselberg is a loving and dedicated husband, father and grandfather who has worked for the Trump Organization for 48 years,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

“He is now being used by the Manhattan district attorney as a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former president,” the spokesperson said.

“The district attorney is initiating a criminal prosecution involving benefits that neither the IRS nor any other district attorney would ever have thought of initiating. This is not justice; this is politics.”

Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen has met with Vance investigators on several occasions to assist them with their investigation.

Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg also gave information to prosecutors. Her ex-ex-husband Barry Weisselberg also works for the Trump Organization.

This is last minute news. Check back for updates.


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