Trump Organisation fined $1.6m for tax fraud
A New York judge fined Donald Trump's family business the maximum penalty of $1.6 million for tax fraud on Friday.
The sum, while insignificant to the billionaire real estate developer, is symbolic as the ex-president considers a return to the White House amid a slew of legal issues.
Last month, the Trump 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 convicted of a crime.
Trump 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 Trump Organization, which is now led by Trump's two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, concealed compensation paid to top executives.
On Tuesday, longtime 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 pleaded guilty to conspiring with the company to obtain undisclosed benefits such as a rent-free apartment in a posh neighborhood, luxury cars for him and his wife, and tuition for his grandchildren at an expensive private school.
As part of a plea deal, the 75-year-old admitted to 15 counts of tax fraud and testified against the Trump Organization. During the trial, he did not name Trump.
Trump called the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation a "witch hunt," claiming that Weisselberg acted alone.
- Civil suit - The former president's sentencing on Friday does not end his legal troubles, as he has been repeatedly accused of breaking the law.
Trump was impeached twice during his presidency, once for abuse of power and obstruction of justice, and once for incitement of insurgency, following his followers' January 6, 2021 assault on the US Congress.
The congressional investigation into January 6 concluded in December that he should be charged with insurrection and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Trump is also being investigated for allegedly illegally storing highly classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and obstructing the investigation into the case.
In Georgia, he could face indictment for interfering with voting during the November 202 election, which Trump lost to President Joe Biden.
In New York, state Attorney General Letitia James has filed a civil suit against Trump and three of his children, accusing them of defrauding the state by overvaluing assets to secure loans and then undervaluing them to reduce taxes.
James is seeking $250 million in penalties as well as a ban on Trump and his children serving as executives at New York-based companies.