Trump Organization found criminally liable in Manhattan tax-fraud trial
Former President Donald Trump’s real-estate empire is criminally liable for the admitted tax frauds of its two top financial executives, a Manhattan jury found Tuesday afternoon.
- The jury has found Donald Trump’s real-estate company criminally liable for its executives’ tax fraud.
- To acquit, jurors needed to believe that Trump’s two top financial executives testified truthfully.
- The Trump Org. faces up to $1.6 million in penalties — and felony status.
The verdict was a fast and decisive one, following just 10 hours of deliberations over two days, and capping a total six-week trial.
The verdict means Trump’s company now risks up to $1.6 million in penalties.
The company also now has felony status, meaning a big black eye as Trump makes his third run for president.
Trump himself was not on trial. Instead, two Trump subsidiaries faced a total of nine tax-fraud counts.
he jury found that both subsidiaries — the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation, both doing business as Trump Organization — were complicit in a decade-long tax-dodge scheme admittedly run by ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg and top payroll executive Jeffrey McConney.
In order to convict, the jury of four women and eight men needed to find that Weisselberg and McConney ran the scheme not only to save on personal taxes, but to benefit the company as well.
Both Weisselberg and McConney had denied on the stand that they had any motive beyond their own personal gain.
Without that admission, there was no direct evidence that Weisselberg and McConney indeed intended to benefit the company, a vital element under New York corporate liability law.
However, there was a breadth of circumstantial evidence that the two money men had more than lining their own pockets in mind.
Dozens of trial exhibits showed Trump or his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., had signed off on some of the luxury apartments, free Mercedes vehicles, pricey private school tuition payments and other tax-free “perks” involved in the scheme.
These perks were carefully logged in internal company records, but were left off of the company’s W-2 tax forms.
The conviction indicates that the jury believed Weisselberg lied on the stand when he testified that he had no intention to help anyone beyond himself in the scheme.