Donald Trump’s longtime real estate executive Allen Weisselberg was convicted of tax fraud by the testimony of his former employee. The sentence will be handed down on January 10, for avoiding taxes on $1.7m in job perks.
Juan Manuel Merchan of New York is expected to sentence Mr. Weisselberg – a former Chief Financial Officer and senior advisor to Trump Organisation – to five years in prison, according to a August plea agreement.
That sentence was promised to Mr. Weisselberg at 75 when he pleaded guilty to 15 tax-related crimes and testified against the company where he worked since the mid-1980s.
After he starts his sentence, Mr. Weisselberg will likely be held at New York City’s Rikers Island jail compound. If he behaves properly behind bars, he’ll be eligible for release in three months.
Mr. Weisselberg is also required to pay $2 million in taxes, penalties, and interest as part of his plea deal. He claimed that he has made significant progress in paying the tax. He must also serve five years of probation.
Mr. Weisselberg could be sentenced to up to 15 year imprisonment — the maximum penalty for the top grand theft charge — if the deal was not honoured or if he doesn’t give truthful testimony at the Trump Organisation trial. He is the sole person being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney’s three year investigation into Donald Trump and his business practices.
For three days, Mr. Weisselberg was able to testify and provide a glimpse into the workings of Donald Trump’s real-estate empire. For nearly 50 years Mr. Trump has been working for his family. He started as an accountant under his father Fred Trump in 1973. Then he joined Donald Trump in 1987.
Jurors heard Mr. Weisselberg tell them he betrayed Trump’s trust by conspiring to conceal more that a decade worth of extras from income. He claimed that he and a subordinate conspired to hide a Manhattan apartment, luxury vehicles, and the tuition fees for his grandchildren’s private school. He said that they falsified W-2 form W-2 forms, and fraudulently filed payroll records.
The Trump Organisation was found guilty by a Manhattan jury in December. Mr. Weisselberg was deemed to have been a “high management” agent, which meant that he had been authorized to act on behalf the company and its entities. This arrangement allowed Mr. Weisselberg to reduce his personal income taxes, but it also saved money for the company because it didn’t have to pay him more to pay for the perks.
Prosecutors claimed that Trump Organisation executives had also accepted compensation off the books. The federal government, the state, and the city were all accused of Mr. Weisselberg’s defrauding of more $9,00,000.
The Trump Organisation faces a possible fine up to $1.6million and is due to be sentenced by January 13.
According to Mr. Weisselberg, neither Trump nor his family knew of the scheme while it was taking place. He choked up as he said, “It was my personal greed that led me to this.” However, prosecutors claimed that Trump “knew exactly” what was going on and that evidence such as the lease that he signed for Weisselberg made it clear that “Mr. Trump is explicitly supporting tax fraud. Michael van der Veen a Trump Organisation lawyer has stated that Mr. Weisselberg hatched the scheme without Mr. Trump’s knowledge.
According to Mr. Weisselberg, the Trumps have remained loyal even after the company tried to end its dubious pay practices in the wake of Mr. Trump’s 2016 election. He claimed that Mr. Trump’s oldest son, who was appointed to lead the company when Trump was President, gave him $2,00,000. This raise came after an internal audit showed that he had been reducing both his salary and bonuses at the expense of the perks.
While he is currently on a leave, the company continues to pay Mr. Weisselberg $6,000.00 in salary and $5,00,000.000 in holiday bonus. After his July 2021 arrest, the company only punished him nominally by reassigning Mr. Weisselberg to senior advisor status and moving his office.
He celebrated his 75th birthday at Trump Tower in August with cake and his colleagues, hours after signing the plea agreement.
Rikers Island is a 10-jail complex on a piece of land in East River. It is located just off LaGuardia Airport in Queens. Since then, violence, inmate deaths, and a staggering staffing shortage have plagued the island.