The chief financial officer of the Trump Organization has pleaded guilty to 15 counts ranging from tax fraud to grand theft.
Alan Weiselberg, 75, pleaded guilty Thursday morning to a Manhattan courthouse.
He failed to pay taxes on more than $1.76 million in income over 15 years by charging the Trump Organization for personal expenses including luxury cars, an Upper West Side apartment and private school tuition for his grandchildren.
These perks were not recorded on the official Trump Organization ledger, but were tracked on spreadsheets hidden in the company.
As part of the plea deal, he agreed to a prison sentence of five months and five months of probation at Rikers Island. He will have to pay a fine of about $ 20 million.
He also agreed to truthfully testify against the Trump Organization when the company goes to trial in October.
If the court finds that he has not fulfilled these conditions, he will face an extended sentence of five to 15 years in prison.
Weiselberg appeared in court surrounded by his defense lawyers. He immediately answered every question with ‘yes, your respect’ and ‘no, your respect’.
As the judge read each charge individually, Weiselberg’s answers became more and more inaudible.
Weiselberg pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including mass theft, tax fraud, and conspiracy to commit these crimes.
He also admitted to using Trump Organization money to buy a ‘multiple’ Mercedes-Benz, a Manhattan apartment on Riverside Drive, furnishings and utility payments to his apartment, private tuition for his grandchildren, and another home in Florida.
Additionally, the CFO admitted to receiving a total of $94,982 in fraudulent tax refunds. At least some of these refunds were due to himself identifying himself as self-employed on his IRS form, when he was actually serving in an official capacity as CFO.
Wesselberg also failed to disclose that he lived in New York City, dodging years of local taxes.
The last count he blamed was the destruction of Donald Trump’s ‘detailed personal ledger’. It is not clear what information he destroyed, or whether it will become relevant to the ongoing case against the company.
“Today Alan Weiselberg admitted in court that he used his position in the Trump Organization to undermine taxpayers and enrich himself,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. ‘This plea agreement directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activities and is required to provide invaluable testimony to Wesselberg in the upcoming trial against the corporation.’
Weiselberg’s investigation began in May 2021. It was opened by former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who focused the investigation on him in an attempt to ‘flip’ Trump.
That June, a grand jury chose to indict him on 15 felony counts of evasion of more than $300,000 in taxes.
Donald Trump himself twice appealed to the Supreme Court to try to stop this investigation and get these allegations dismissed. He failed both times.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is also watching the matter very closely. The Attorney General’s Office at the Trump Organization has its own investigation open.
Moments after the hearing ended, James said, “Mr. Weiselberg broke the law to fill his pocket and live a lavish lifestyle, but today, that misconduct ends.” ‘Let this guilty plea send a loud and clear message: We will take action against anyone stealing from the public for personal gain because no one is above the law.’
As part of his investigation, James The former president was ousted last week. Trump told the press that he requested the Fifth Amendment for every question he was asked.
James is deciding whether to file civil charges against the Trump Organization — which could cost the former president a lot of money in punitive damages or even get him to dissolve the business altogether. may have to be forced.
The New York Attorney General’s office was already successful in shutting down its charity, the Trump Foundation, after a 2018 investigation. Trump was forced to pay $2 million in restitution after admitting to using the charity’s funds for personal and political purposes.
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