A New York judge on Friday fined Donald Trump’s family business ‘Trump Organization‘ the maximum penalty of $1.6 million for tax evasion.
The sum, while small in comparison to the billionaire real estate developer’s fortune, is symbolic as the ex-president seeks re-election amid a slew of legal issues.
In December, the organization’s entities, the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp., were found guilty of running a multi-year scheme to defraud and evade taxes by falsifying business records.
Following a trial, they were found guilty on all 17 counts, marking the first time the companies had ever been found guilty of a crime.
United State’s former President was not charged, but the verdict has harmed his reputation as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
“While corporations cannot be imprisoned, this significant conviction and sentence serves as a reminder to corporations and executives that you cannot defraud tax authorities and get away with it,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who prosecuted the case.
Between 2005 and 2021, the organization, which is now led by his two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, concealed compensation paid to top executives.
On Tuesday, longtime Chief Finance Officer (CFO) Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in prison and agreed to pay a $2 million fine for his role in the scam.
He admitted to conspiring with the company to obtain undeclared benefits such as a rent-free apartment in a posh neighborhood, luxury cars for him and his wife, and enrollment of his grandchildren in an expensive private school.
As part of a plea deal, the 75-year-old (Weisselberg) admitted to 15 counts of tax fraud and testified against the Trump Organization. During the trial, he did not name Trump.
Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” claiming that Weisselberg acted alone.