Two Trump Organization businesses were found guilty of tax crimes in a landmark conviction on Tuesday.
The Trump Corporation and The Trump Payroll Corp. were convicted “for engaging in a 13-year scheme to defraud, as well as for conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., said in a news release.
The companies paid their executives “off the books,” with Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg being given $1.76 million “in unreported compensation,” such as rent payment for a Manhattan apartment, holiday cash and Mercedes Benz cars for him and his wife. The corporations never paid taxes for the expenses, authorities said in the release.
Speaking to the verdict, the announcement said, “These all-count convictions mark the first-ever criminal convictions of former President Trump’s companies.”
During the trial, it was proven that Weisselberg and Controller Jeffrey McConney executed “a sophisticated tax fraud scheme” for more than 10 years for the companies, according to the announcement.
The release noted that Weisselberg already pleaded guilty to 15 charges against him and implicated the companies when he took the stand during the trial. His sentencing hasn’t been scheduled yet. Meanwhile, the Trump Organization corporations are expected to be sentenced on Jan. 13, 2023.
They could be ordered to pay up to $1.61 million in fines, according to CNN. The companies will still be able to operate, however, they could have trouble doing business and getting loans due to the conviction.
During the trial, a jury in the New York State Supreme Court convicted both companies of: “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; [and] Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, three counts,” per the release.
Additionally, the Trump Corporation was found guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree, which is a class E felony.
“This was a case about greed and cheating. In Manhattan, no corporation is above the law,” said Bragg in the announcement. “For 15 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.”
Added Bragg: “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.”
An attorney for the Trump Organization said it plans to appeal the conviction.
Trump also said he is “disappointed with the verdict,” according to CNBC.
He added, “It is a continuation of the Greatest Political Witch Hunt in the History of our Country. New York City is a hard place to be ‘Trump.’ ”