Trump Organization found guilty of tax fraud

Trump Legal Troubles
Posted at 2:04 PM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-06 16:23:28-05

NEW YORK (AP) — Jurors returned guilty verdicts Tuesday in the tax fraud case against Donald Trump’s company.

For two days, the jury deliberated charges that the company helped executives dodge personal income taxes on perks such as Manhattan apartments and luxury cars.

Jurors sent notes twice Tuesday asking for clarity on the falsifying business records charge and a reading of related testimony.

Longtime Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg testified that he ordered accounts payable supervisor Deborah Tarasoff to delete “Per Allen Weisselberg” notations from entries in Trump’s personal general ledger reflecting that Trump personally paid private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren.

First, jurors asked the judge to reread the charge and the elements they are required to find for a guilty verdict. Later, they asked to again hear Tarasoff's testimony.

Tarasoff, a Trump Organization veteran, testified that Weisselberg called her into his office and told her, “Go in and take my name off it” in September 2016.

Tarasoff said she didn’t recall ever being asked to make changes to other ledger entries, but that she wasn’t concerned she may have been tampering with records.

Weisselberg testified that he told Tarasoff to make the deletions because “I didn’t want my grandchildren’s names to be in there."

"I wanted them to have privacy,” he said.

Prosecutors charged the Trump Organization in the form of two subsidiaries, Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation. Trump Corporation is charged with nine counts. Trump Payroll Corporation is charged with eight.

After resuming deliberations Tuesday, jurors sent a note asking the judge to reread three counts of falsifying business records pertaining to the creation of false W-2 tax forms for Weisselberg for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The monthlong trial featured testimony from seven witnesses, including Weisselberg and Senior Vice President and Controller Jeffrey McConney. An outside accountant who spent years preparing tax returns for Trump and the company also testified.

The jury deliberated for about four hours on Monday.

Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty to dodging taxes on $1.7 million in extras, testified that he and McConney conspired to hide extras from his income by deducting their cost from his pre-tax salary and issuing falsified W-2 forms.

Weisselberg testified against the company in exchange for a promised five-month jail sentence. Other executives were also accused of avoiding taxes on company perks, but no one else was charged.

Trump Organization lawyers argued that Weisselberg acted on his own, without Trump or the Trump family’s knowledge.

Trump was not charged. The Trump Organization case is the only trial to arise from the Manhattan district attorney’s office’s three-year investigation of Trump and his business practices.