The Trump Organization. CFO to plead guilty, testify against company

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s chief financial officer is expected to plead guilty to tax evasion On Thursday, the former president must testify about illegal business practices at his company in a deal, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Alan Weiselberg is accused of taking more than $1.7 million Off-the-books compensation from the Trump administration over the years, including tax-free benefits like rent, car payments and school tuition.

Under the plea agreement, Weiselberg must speak in court Thursday about the company’s role in the compensation and may testify when the Trump Organization goes on trial on related charges in October, the people said.

Neither man was authorized to speak publicly about the case and did so on condition of anonymity.

Weiselberg, 75, will receive a five-month prison sentence, which he will serve at New York City’s notorious Rikers Island facility, and he must pay about $2 million in restitution, including taxes, penalties and interest. said. If that sentence stands, Weiselberg would be eligible for release after about 100 days.

Messages for comment were sent to the Manhattan district attorney’s office and attorneys for Weiselberg and the Trump Organization.

Weiselberg is the only person so far to face criminal charges over the company’s business practices in a long-running investigation by the Manhattan district attorney.

Weiselberg, seen as one of Trump’s most loyal business associates, was arrested in July 2021. His lawyers argued that the Democratic-led district attorney’s office was punishing Trump because he did not provide damaging information.

The district attorney is also investigating whether Trump or his company lied to banks or the government about the value of its properties to get loans or lower tax bills.

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Former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who opened the investigation, last year directed his deputies to present evidence to a grand jury to seek an indictment against Trump, said Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor who previously led the investigation.

But after Vance left office, his successor, Alvin Bragg, allowed the grand jury to dissolve without indictments. Both attorneys are Democrats. Bragg said the investigation is ongoing.

The Trump Organization is not involved in Weiselberg’s expected criminal trial on Thursday and a hearing on the alleged compensation scheme is scheduled for October.

Prosecutors allege the company paid senior executives, including Weiselberg, untaxed perks for 15 years. Weiselberg alone is accused of defrauding the federal, state and city of more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and unqualified tax refunds.

Under state law, the most serious charge against Weiselberg, grand theft, carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. But this fee has no mandatory minimum, and most first-time offenders in tax-related cases do not end up behind bars.

Tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization are punishable by a fine of twice the unpaid taxes or $250,000, whichever is greater.

Trump has not been charged in the criminal investigation. The Republican has dismissed the New York investigations as a “political witch hunt,” saying his company’s actions were normal practice in the real estate business and in no way criminal.

Last week, Trump appeared in a parallel civil investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleging that Trump’s company misled lenders and tax authorities about property values. Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection Over 400 times against self-incrimination.

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