Friday 13 January 2023

Trump Organization Hit With Max Penalty In Tax Fraud Case

 Former President Donald Trump’s business was ordered to pay the maximum penalty Friday after being convicted on multiple charges related to tax evasion last month.

A Manhattan judge ordered the Trump Organization to pay a fine of $1.6 million for a years-long scheme to evade taxes by handing out gifts and perks to top executives, according to The New York Times. The former chief financial officer of the company, Allen Weisselberg, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors and testified against the company during the trial.

Two subsidiaries of the Trump Organization, the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation, were at the center of the trial over the off-the-books executive compensation. The two entities were convicted of 17 counts, including tax fraud and falsifying business records.

Weisselberg’s testimony was a key component of prosecutors’ success in winning a conviction against the Trump Organization. The former longtime financial chief agreed to plead guilty to his role in the tax evasion scheme in return for a reduced sentence. Weisselberg, 75, was sentenced earlier this week to five months in Rikers Island jail. He will reportedly serve his time in the infirmary unit and will not be part of the general jail population.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Friday that his office’s prosecution of the Trump Organization is only a “chapter,” suggesting more potential prosecutions to come.

“The sentencing today and the sentencing earlier this week closes this important chapter of our ongoing investigation into the former president and his businesses. We now move on to the next chapter,” Bragg said in a press conference after Friday’s sentencing.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has continued its investigation into the Trump Organization, recently focusing on alleged hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election. The payments were allegedly made to cover up an affair between Trump and the porn star. The former president has denied any affair.

Trump remains under legal pressure from a variety of sources, including two Department of Justice investigations into his handling of classified documents and his role in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. Those investigations are being handled by special counsel Jack Smith.

Trump also faces additional court battles in New York. New York Attorney General Letitia James is pursuing a $250 million civil lawsuit against the former president’s company based on allegations that Trump and other top executives lied about the value of multiple Trump Organization properties to defraud lenders and tax authorities.

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