A Manhattan, New York jury has found two Trump Organization companies guilty on multiple charges of criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records connected to a 15-year scheme to defraud tax authorities by failing to report and pay taxes on compensation for top executives.
The Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp. were found guilty on all charges they faced.
Donald Trump and his family were not charged in this case, but the former president was mentioned repeatedly during the trial by prosecutors about his connection to the benefits received by certain executives, including company-funded apartments, car leases and personal expenses.
The Trump Organization could face a maximum of $1.61 million in fines when sentenced in mid-January. The company is not at risk of being dismantled as there is no mechanism under New York law that would dissolve the company. However, a felony conviction could impact its ability to do business or obtain loans or contracts.
Trump Org. attorneys said they plan to appeal.
“This was a case about greed and cheating,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “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. Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”
Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told the jury in closing arguments that Trump “explicitly sanctioned” tax fraud and urged them to reject the defense’s argument that former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg was a rogue employee motivated by his own personal greed.
“This whole narrative that Donald Trump is blissfully ignorant is just not true,” Steinglass said.
The jury heard that Trump agreed quickly to pay the private school tuition for his Weisselberg’s grandchildren and signed a lease for a Manhattan apartment to shorten the executive’s commute. Trump personally signed his employees’ bonus checks at Christmas time and he initialed a memo reducing the salary of another top executives, which prosecutors said suggested he knew all along about the fraudulent scheme.
The verdict comes as Trump is under scrutiny by federal and state prosecutors for his handling of classified documents, the effort to overturn the 2020 election results, and the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s business records and financial statements. He is also facing a $250 million civil lawsuit from the New York attorney general alleging he and his adult children were involved in a decade long fraud. The attorney general is seeking to permanently bar them from serving as an officer or director of a company in New York state, among other penalties.