Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
🚨 Our Pro Data Reveals the True Winner of Earnings Season Access Data

Trump Organization found guilty of tax fraud scheme

Stock Markets Dec 07, 2022 01:37AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Trump Organization's former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg leaves the courtroom in New York, U.S., November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Yuki Iwamura

By Luc Cohen and Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Donald Trump's real estate company was convicted on Tuesday of carrying out a 15-year-long criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities, adding to the legal woes facing the former U.S. president as he campaigns for the office again in 2024.

The Trump Organization - which operates hotels, golf courses, and other real estate around the world - was found guilty of paying personal expenses for top executives including former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, and issuing bonus checks to them as if they were independent contractors.

The company faces up to $1.6 million in fines after being convicted on all charges, including scheming to defraud tax authorities, conspiracy and falsifying business records. Trump was not charged in the case.

Justice Juan Merchan, who presided over the trial in state court in New York, set a sentencing date for Jan. 13.

While the fine is not expected to be material for a company of the Trump Organization's size, the conviction could complicate its ability to do business.

Weisselberg, 75, testified as the government's star witness as part of a plea deal that calls for a sentence of five months in jail.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office prosecuted the case, called the verdict "very just."

"The former president's companies now stand convicted of crimes," Bragg said in the New York courthouse after the verdict, speaking of the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation, the two units of the Trump Organization which were convicted.

Asked if he regretted not charging Trump in the case, Bragg did not respond.

He has said that the office's investigation into Trump is continuing.

APPEAL

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said the company would appeal and that the criminal law governing corporate liability was vague.

"It was central to the case," he told reporters after the verdict.

The jury deliberated for about 12 hours over two days.

The case centered on charges that the company paid personal expenses like free rent and car leases for executives including Weisselberg without reporting the income, and gave them bonuses as non-employee compensation from other Trump entities like the Mar-a-lago Club, without deducting taxes.

According to testimony during the four-week trial, Trump himself signed the bonus checks annually, paid private school tuition for Weisselberg's grandchildren, authorized the lease for his luxury Manhattan apartment and approved a salary deduction for another executive.

"The whole narrative that Donald Trump was blissfully ignorant is just not real, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told jurors during his closing argument on Friday.

He said the "smorgasbord of benefits" was designed to keep top executives "happy and loyal."

Republican Trump, who on Nov. 15 announced his third campaign for the presidency, said in a statement he was "disappointed" by the verdict but called the case a "Manhattan witch hunt." Both Bragg and his predecessor who brought the charges, Cyrus Vance, are Democrats.

SEPARATE LAWSUIT

The Trump Organization separately faces a fraud lawsuit brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James.

Trump himself is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice over his handling of sensitive government documents after he left office in January 2021 and attempts to overturn the November 2020 election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

Lawyers for the Trump Organization argued that Weisselberg carried out the scheme to benefit himself, not the company. They tried to paint him as a rogue employee. Weisselberg is currently on paid leave and testified that he hopes to get another $500,000 bonus in January

Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform on Nov. 19. that his family got "no economic gain from the acts done by the executive."

Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August to concealing $1.76 million in income from tax authorities, testified that although Trump signed checks involved, he did not conspire with him.

He said that the company saved money by paying for his rent, utilities, Mercedes-Benz car leases for him and his wife and other personal expenses rather than raising his salary, because a wage hike would have had to account for taxes.

He said Trump's two sons - who took over the company's operations in 2017 - gave him a raise after they knew about his tax dodge scheme.

By then, Trump was president, and the company was preparing for greater scrutiny.

"We were going through an entire cleanup process of the company to make sure that since Mr. Trump is now president everything was being done properly," Weisselberg testified.

Trump Organization found guilty of tax fraud scheme
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your investing.com profile, will be public on investing.com and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (11)
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Dec 07, 2022 9:39AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
This wasn't a government verdict. 12 ordinary people of a variety of political stripes determined laws had been broken.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 07, 2022 9:39AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lakes Tenn  so it will not be upheld because it's decided by Jury?  I guess that makes perfect sense in MAGA Q world......I can only hope the orange legal team has better logic than that......
First Last
First Last Dec 07, 2022 9:39AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Tre Hsi   Retrumplicans believe in terminating the US Constitution.  They want everything decided by their Party, just like the CCP does!
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Dec 07, 2022 9:39AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lakes Tenn Huh? So if it was a government edict, it would be upheld? You smart.
First Last
First Last Dec 07, 2022 9:39AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lakes Tenn   "1984" is NOT supposed to be an instruction manual on how to run your political party.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 07, 2022 9:39AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
First Last  I think that book is too complex for MAGA, more likely Animal Farm
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Dec 06, 2022 11:34PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
the fascist minions here are right to scream foul, but not in the way they think. in a fair, free and transparent legal and political system, trump would already be in prison and would never even have made president. instead he keeps escaping accountability
Skelet FlyingFalcon
Skelet FlyingFalcon Dec 06, 2022 11:34PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
ROFL, they went back FIFTEEN YEARS, and out of a MULTI-BILLION dollar corporation, all they came up with was a bit over $1 million -- after adding penalties & interest (15 years of interest, so the amount Trump OR the CFO or Trump's tax-preparer ACTUALLY UNDERPAID BY WAS PROBABLY LESS THAN $1 million.  That's PETTY for FIFTEEN years -- both in terms of meaning "chump change" to Trump and "petty" in terms of VINDICTIVE. The amount Dems steal is OVER 1 MILLION TIMES MORE (in the TRILLIONS, not <$1 million). ...It's nothing they could put Trump in jail for, as THEIR STAR WITNESS EVEN ADMITTED (after taking the sweetheart deal to testify against Trump) that he did not "collude" (CONSPIRE) with Trump, which makes you a CONSPIRACY theorist. Enjoy the $1.5 million -- you probably SPENT more in investigatory and the legal fees to pay the prosecutors, judge...and you came up WAY SHORT OF WHAT THEY WANTED OR WERE EXPECTING TO FIND, meaning New York govt LOST money.
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 11:34PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Skelet FlyingFalcon  So your argument is Trump should not be punished  for cheating because others cheated more?  Multiple wrongs make a right?
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 11:34PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lakes Tenn   No.  you cannot read.   Skelet was referring to Trump, the the Trump Org.
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 11:34PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
* not the Trump Org.
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey Dec 06, 2022 10:31PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Seems like weaponizing government against someone
Adrian White
Adrian White Dec 06, 2022 10:31PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How so? These charges are against a corporation that committed tax fraud. Crimes are supposed to be dealt with by the law, and that's all that happened here. Trump, himself, was not even charged.
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 10:31PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Against someone like criminals.
Midnight Trader
Midnight Trader Dec 06, 2022 9:54PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
This guy is a New York crook and mobster
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 4:54PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Ivanka (and other retrumplicans, who believe laws/rules only apply to others) did similar things w/ gov't emails, too.  No consequences.   Not even threats to lock her up.  Hunter, unlike Ivanka, was never nepotistically appointed into gov't power.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 06, 2022 4:54PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lakes Tenn  or like shaking down Ukraine by withholding military aid until they investigate the son of your political opponent, because I know how much you are against that sort of things
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 4:54PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lakes Tenn  Not only CNN.  And "In the excerpted portion of the clip, Biden was discussing his efforts on behalf of the Obama administration to pressure Ukraine into prosecuting corruption and firing Viktor Shokin, an ineffective prosecutor."  --  snopes.com
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 4:54PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Biden was draining the swamp.
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 4:54PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
... which the retrumplicans only give lip service to; they criticize the draining when it actually happens.
Warm Camp
Warm Camp Dec 06, 2022 4:14PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Political trials. Exactly like they do in Russia, Venezuela, etc.
Don Getty
Don Getty Dec 06, 2022 4:14PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lol, Guilty verdict - first of many to come
Red Maple
Red Maple Dec 06, 2022 4:14PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Tax fraud trial. No one is above the law.
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 4:14PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Red Maple  That's why Trump wants to change the law, by terminating the Constitution.  "Exactly like they do in Russia, Venezuela, etc."
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Dec 06, 2022 12:50PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
and yet Trump continues to dodge legal actions, for his criminal behavior against America, while president.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Dec 06, 2022 12:50PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
For the moment.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Dec 06, 2022 12:47PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
and yet Trump continues to dodge illegal actions, for his criminal behavior against America, while president.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Dec 06, 2022 12:43PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
why wasn't there more out cry about Trump's use of private servers by members of his inner circle...
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 12:43PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Ivanka (and other retrumplicans, who believe laws/rules only apply to others) did similar things w/ gov't emails, too.  No consequences.   Not even threats to lock her up.  Hunter, unlike Ivanka, was never nepotistically appointed into gov't power.
Scott Faries
Scott Faries Dec 06, 2022 11:31AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
more fake investigations... what about Hillary Clinton server and Hunter Biden laptop?
Don Getty
Don Getty Dec 06, 2022 11:31AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
trump's AG's couldn't find enough to make that dog hunt - otherwise it would have been on FOX 24/7 trump on the other hand is guilty and the future looks bright for more justice
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 06, 2022 11:31AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lakes Tenn  "fox covered it plenty"  -- did they?  if they really covered it, then you would know Trump's own DOJ and State Dept cleared Hillary.....and of course Trump's DOJ also had Hunter's laptop for nearly a year in 2020 and chose not to file any charges.....but why let facts get in the way of a good rant eh?
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 11:31AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lakes Tenn   Fox News itself claimed in court it “cannot reasonably be interpreted as facts.”  Fox News coverage of Trump's big lie got it sued by voting machines companies and it had to issue retractions and use disclaimers.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email