A court has found Trump’s company guilty of tax fraud.
Eko Hot Blog reports that the Supreme Court in Manhattan, New York, United States, has convicted former President Donald Trump’s family real estate business of tax fraud and other financial crimes.
Prosecutors secured the conviction on Tuesday after describing a “culture of fraud and deception” at the former US president’s company.
The conviction on all 17 counts, after more than a day of jury deliberations, resulted from a long-running scheme in which the Trump Organization doled out off-the-books luxury perks to some executives: They received fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives, none of which they paid taxes on.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which led the case against two Trump Organization entities, had previously extracted a guilty plea from the architect of the scheme, Allen H. Weisselberg, the company’s long-serving chief financial officer.
Weisselberg, one of the former president’s most loyal lieutenants, testified as the prosecution’s star witness, but never implicated Trump.
While prosecutors stopped short of indicting Trump, they invoked his name throughout the monthlong trial, telling jurors that he personally paid for some of the perks and even approved a crucial aspect of the scheme.
The prosecution also sounded a drumbeat of damning evidence that spotlighted his company’s freewheeling culture, revealing that pervasive illegality unfolded under the former president’s nose for years.
“The former president’s companies now stand convicted of crimes,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said outside the courtroom after the verdict was delivered.
“That is consequential. It underscores that in Manhattan we have one standard of justice for all.”
The conviction on charges of tax fraud, a scheme to defraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records, means a maximum penalty of $1.62 million for the Trump Organization.
In a statement after the verdict, the company took aim at Weisselberg, noting that he “testified under oath that he ‘betrayed’ the trust the company had placed in him.”
“The notion that a company could be held responsible for an employee’s actions, to benefit themselves, on their own personal tax returns is simply preposterous.”
Alan Futerfas, one of the company’s lawyers, said the Trump Organization would appeal the verdict. Another company lawyer, Susan Necheles, called the case “unprecedented and legally incorrect,” adding that, “We disagree with the jury’s verdict.”
Futerfas told a group of reporters that a “novel and really interesting issue” developed during the trial, which was the definition of “in behalf of.”
The prosecution was charged with persuading the jury that when top executives engaged in the tax-fraud scheme, they acted in behalf of the company. “That will be one of the arguments we will make, and it was central to the case,” the lawyer said.
Weisselberg remains a Trump Organization employee, where he is on paid leave. His future with a company that he has served for decades is now uncertain.
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