Trump Organization Tax Fraud Scandal Explained

The Trump Organization is a business entity that was owned by former President Donald Trump. His sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are executive vice presidents of the company.

Donald Trump reportedly resigned from his position with the Trump Organization before becoming president in 2017 and put his sons and Weisselberg in charge of the company’s day-to-day operations.

The Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg were criminally charged in New York with tax fraud.

Allen Weisselberg
Allen Weisselberg

Weisselberg Was Longtime Trump Employee, Adviser

Allen Weisselberg began working for the Trump Organization in 1973, when the company was being run by Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father. He served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and as an adviser to Donald Trump.

Weisselberg was part of Trump’s inner circle and had his name on the company’s financial documents for decades. He appeared in 2004 as a guest judge on Trump’s reality show, “The Apprentice.”

Ivanka Trump told the Wall Street Journal in 2016 that Weisselberg “is deeply passionate, fiercely loyal and has stood alongside my father and our family.”

Weisselberg was paid an average of almost $800,000 a year by the Trump Organization from 2007 to 2017. In 2018 he was paid more than $977,000 in salary and deferred compensation.

Weisselberg Accused Of Hush Money Involvement

In testimony before Congress, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen said that Weisselberg coordinated hush money payments for Donald Trump.

Stormy Daniels
Stormy Daniels

Cohen testified that Weisselberg was the one who put in place a $130,000 payment reimbursing him for paying out the same sum to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Daniels was paid to keep the details of her sexual affair with Trump quiet before the 2016 presidential election.

Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg Indicted

The Trump Organization and Weisselberg were indicted on July 1 2021. The indictment accused Weisselberg of receiving over $1.7 million in payments that were not recorded on the company’s legally filed tax documents.

Weisselberg leased a Mercedes-Benz car and received money for private school tuition for one of his grandchildren.

Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump
Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump

The indictment came about due to a joint investigation of the Trump Organization by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Cyrus Vance Jr., District Attorney for Manhattan.

Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney, described the purported activities at the Trump Organization as “a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme.”

Weisselberg was accused of being compensated with rent for an apartment, school tuition, and car payments.

Lawyers for the company and Weisselberg initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Weisselberg Pleaded Guilty

Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 charges of tax evasion on August 18 2022.

After the plea, Judge Juan Manuel Merchan sentenced Weisselberg to five months in Rikers Island jail. Merchan also said Weisselberg would have to pay almost $2 million to go towards taxes, penalties and interest. The judge also said Weisselberg would need to serve five years probation.

Trump Tower In NYC
Trump Tower In NYC

Weisselberg Flipped On Trump Org, Not Trump

Weisselberg’s guilty plea came with the agreement that he would testify truthfully about alleged tax fraud at the Trump Organization.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said that the guilty plea from Weisselberg “directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation.”

The Trump Organization claimed that Weisselberg had been “persecuted” as part of a plot for a “politically motivated” investigation of Donald Trump’s company.

Weisselberg reportedly would not turn on Donald Trump personally, even while admitting wrongdoing by the company.

Trial Began October 2022

The trial against the Trump Organization began in October 2022 with jury selection.

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