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Trump Organization and financial chief charged in tax fraud scheme, prosecutors allege

The charges were first made by the Manhattan district attorneys office’s yearslong investigation into the Trump Organization’s business dealings

Pedestrians pass security barricades in front of Trump Tower.
Pedestrians pass security barricades in front of Trump Tower, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in New York.
John Minchillo, Associated Press

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has formally charged the Trump Organization —former President Donald Trump’s New York-based business empire — for operating a tax fraud scheme that lasted for 15 years, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The Trump Organization faced a 15-count indictment in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Thursday, which “accused the company of a long-running conspiracy to help executives, including Mr. (Allen) Weisselberg, evade taxes on perks and bonuses while at the same time decreasing the company’s own tax obligations,” reported the Times.

  • “To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” Manhattan District Attorney General counsel Carey Dunne said at the arraignment, according to The New York Times.

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who turned himself into the district attorney early Thursday morning, was also charged with tax fraud. He pleaded not guilty to that charge and several other allegations, reported the New York Post.

  • “In addition to the tax fraud rap, Weisselberg was also hit with scheme conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records charges, prosecutors said in Manhattan Supreme Court,” according to the New York Post.
  • Prosecutors alleged that Weisselberg had received gifts from Trump during his long tenure with the former president’s business and had not paid taxes on past bonuses, the New York Post reported.

The full 25-page indictment was obtained by The New York Times.

A yearslong investigation into the Trump Organization

The allegations against the Trump Organization and one of its chief executives are the first charges made by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in his yearslong investigation into Trump’s business dealings.

  • In May, the New York attorney general’s office announced it had joined Vance’s criminal investigation into the Trump Organization and later that month a grand jury was seated to begin hearing evidence collected in the Manhattan DA’s investigation.
  • In February, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Trump to turn a decade of his tax records over to Vance’s office.

Trump said in a nearly 500-word statement on Monday that investigations by “politically motivated prosecutors” were a “very dangerous thing for our country.”