On Tuesday, The Trump Organization was found guilty of criminal tax fraud, meaning that former President Donald Trump’s real estate company could face up to $1.6 million in fines.
The organization was faced with 15 charges including tax fraud, falsifying business records, and conspiracy and related crimes and was convicted on all counts, after two days of deliberations in Manhattan Supreme Court. The sentencing is set to take place on June 13.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg praised the jury for its verdict against the company, which is the first criminal conviction against a Trump company.
“This case was about greed and cheating,” Bragg said. “Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”
Over the course of the four-week trial, prosecutors alleged that the Trump Organization had helped executives skirt income taxes, using benefits that were off the books, including rent, private school tuition, and luxury cars for over 15 years.
The jury heard from star prosecution witness and former Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg who said last month, “It was my own personal greed that led to this case.”
Lawyers for the Trump Org claimed that Weisselberg acted alone and the blame was solely placed on him. However, Weisselberg admitted that when Donald Trump’s children Eric and Donald Trump Jr. found out that he and other executives were cheating on taxes in 2017, they weren’t penalized. Weisselberg was instead given a $200,000 raise.
The 45th president and his children are not charged in the case; however, during closing arguments, prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office claimed the former president was well aware of what Weisselberg was doing, “explicitly” sanctioning the tax fraud.
“This whole narrative that Donald Trump is blissfully ignorant is just not real,” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass told jurors, saying the tax fraud also benefited the company, keeping payroll down and increasing tax deductions.
“The executives net more and the company pays less,” Steinglass said. “A win-win for everyone except the tax man. In the end, that’s all this is.”
Trump Org lawyer Susan Necheles pointed the finger solely on Weisselberg, saying in her summations, “We are here today because of one reason and one reason only: the greed of Allen Weisselberg.”
Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August accepting $1.7 million in benefits that went unreported to tax authorities. He is slated to receive a five-month prison sentence in exchange for his cooperation with the government.