Ex-CFO of Trump Org. pleads guilty to tax fraud
New York, Aug 18 (EFE).- Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, on Thursday pleaded guilty to conspiring for years with the company in an ongoing tax fraud scheme, authorities announced.
Weisselberg, who for decades worked for the multifaceted company owned by former President Donald Trump and is considered to be one his most loyal supporters, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and will be sentenced to five months in prison and five years of probation and must pay a fine of almost $2 million.
In addition, the ex-CFO promised to testify if asked during the Trump Organization’s trial on charges of tax fraud scheduled to get under way on Oct. 24, although he has refused to cooperate with prosecutors on other investigations into the company.
“Today Allen Weisselberg admitted in Court that he used his position at the Trump Organization to bilk taxpayers and enrich himself,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement, emphasizing that the guilty plea “directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony” in the company’s upcoming trial.
Bragg made it clear that the investigations into the firm and into the former president himself are continuing.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty to the 15 charges filed against him that included tax fraud, conspiracy and falsification of documents.
The Trump company and its leadership were accused last summer of perpetrating a scheme for more than 15 years to avoid paying taxes, whereby the company allegedly paid executives “under the table” by providing an important part of their compensation in ways that could reduce their – and the company’s – taxes.
The Trump Organization, as the ex-CFO has admitted, paid those people significantly reduced salaries – thus reducing its own payroll taxes – and offered them other compensation on the side about which neither the organization nor the executives properly notified US tax authorities.
Among other things, Weisselberg and other execs allegedly received housing, tuition for private colleges for their children and payments in cash to cover all sorts of personal expenses.
The former CFO on Thursday admitted having pocketed more than $1.7 million on which he paid no taxes, as prosecutors had contended.
The case resulted from broad investigations of the Trump Organization conducted over the past few years but the former president has not been indicted in any of them yet, although probes are being pursued against him on numerous legal fronts ranging from his private business activities to his actions during and after his tenure in the White House.
In New York, Trump is facing an investigation for his company’s business practices and had to testify before the state Attorney General’s Office, although he refused to respond to any of their questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination hundreds of times.
The FBI recently raided the former president’s Florida mansion at Mar-a-Lago seeking – and seizing – classified documents that he had allegedly taken with him when he left office in late January 2021, and he is facing several lawsuits over the Jan. 6 attack that year on the US Capitol by an angry mob of his supporters, whom he had fired up just prior to directing them to march on the legislative seat with an eye toward trying to halt Congress’s certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win.