Trump Organization found guilty of criminal tax fraud
A New York jury says that the Trump family business paid top executives illegally with vehicles, and residences, not to mention other extra benefits.
The Trump Organization, the family business of former president Donald Trump, was found guilty of criminal tax fraud by a New York jury.
The jury found that the Trump Organization used an unreported compensation scheme to pay some executives in the form of car leases and apartment leases, in addition to cash.
Two corporate organizations of the Trump Organization were found guilty by the jury of all charges they were up against, including conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying financial records. The combined penalties for the two organizations could account for more than $1.6 million.
The guilty verdict is a setback for Trump, who announced his third consecutive presidential candidacy last month while being the target of legal litigation and criminal investigations.
The court scheduled the firm's sentencing for January 13th.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the verdict makes the Trump Organization liable for a lengthy criminal enterprise. In a statement, Bragg said, "This was a case about greed and cheating;” No corporation is above the law in Manhattan."
Despite not being charged in the case, Trump's presence overshadowed the trial. Trump approved the tax-free perks and personally signed certain checks for the grandkids of former finance head Allen Weisselberg to attend elite schools, according to the prosecution.
A defense lawyer claimed during closing arguments that Trump relied on an outside accountant who never informed him the benefits in question were unlawful.
“Mr. Trump and his family are not here on trial before you,” the judge directed the jury on Monday.
In a statement, Trump expressed his disappointment with the decision.
"This instance is unprecedented, and neither of these two corporations received any financial benefit," he stated.
The Trump Organization would appeal, according to a lawyer for the business. A corporate spokesperson said Weisselberg testified that he took action for his own benefit.
According to the prosecution, the Trump Organization promoted a culture of deceit and fraud, with other executives in addition to Weisselberg receiving off-the-books compensation.