The Trump Organisation has been convicted of criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records over a period of 15 years.
It’s the first time any of Trump’s companies have been criminally convicted. The penalty is expected to be up to $US1.62 million in fines. Trump himself has not been charged.
What was the crime?
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which led the prosecution, said two companies within the Trump Organisation carried out a “sophisticated tax fraud scheme” at Trump Tower offices in New York.
The District Attorney said the scheme was “greed and cheating… [It] awarded high-level executives with lavish perks and compensation while intentionally concealing the benefits… to avoid paying taxes.”
These “off the books” expenses included luxury apartments, Mercedes Benz cars, furniture, holidays, and school fees, all provided to employees in place of money to minimise tax.
“Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme,” the District Attorney said.
Allen Weisselberg, the Chief Financial Officer who oversaw the scheme, has separately pleaded guilty to crimes and will be sentenced to jail.
Trump said he was “disappointed” and planned to appeal the verdict but blamed Weisselberg.
Trump, who recently announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for President ahead of the 2024 election, is in legal difficulty on a number of fronts.
He is also currently under investigation over his handling of classified documents from his time as President. The House of Representatives Committee, which has been investigating his role in the January 6 Capitol riots, is also expected to make a final decision on potential criminal referrals in the coming days.