Donald Trump was aware of the company’s tax fraud: prosecutors
Donald Trump knew exactly what a top financial executive was up to when he committed financial crimes — with records showing the ex-president “explicitly” sanctioned tax fraud, prosecutors said Friday.
Trump, 76, was not charged but remained the focus of closing statements from Manhattan prosecutors on the final day of a criminal tax fraud case against the Trump Organization.
“Donald Trump specifically sanctions tax fraud. That’s what this document shows,” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass told the Manhattan Criminal Court jury. “This whole narrative that Donald Trump is happily ignorant just isn’t real.”
The statements aimed to refute the defense’s position that former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg acted “solely for his own benefit” in evading taxes and receiving off-the-books financial benefits from the company. The ex-CFO pleaded guilty to grand larceny and other charges and then testified against the company during the trial.
Steinglass argued that an alleged plan to evade paying taxes on perks for Weisselberg and other top officials helped keep salaries low, lower payroll taxes — and tax deductions on Trump entities like his Mar-a-Lago club to relocate to Florida.
“The whole defensive strategy here is to promote the idea that Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg,” Steinglass said. “It has a nice ring to it, but it’s just not grounded in reality.”
Steinglass blasted the idea that “it was all happening right under Donald Trump’s nose and he didn’t know anything about it.” He added that Trump made decisions about executive salaries, raises and holiday bonuses.
“No one, person or company is above the law… Aside from the elephant that isn’t in the room, this case isn’t about politics,” he said. “It’s just two companies helping their executives dodge their taxes.”
The charges against the Trump Org and its subsidiary, Trump Payroll Corporation, focused on covert perks for Weisselberg, including a luxury apartment, cars and tuition for his grandchildren.
“Let’s say you want to ask for a raise to buy a $25,000 car — $25,000 isn’t enough for tax reasons,” Steinglass told jurors. “Trump Org should have given Wisselberg twice the raise. A $25,000 car would cost them $50,000 in raises.”
The company benefited from the misconduct, he accused, because executives who were showered with untaxed perks had their on-the-book salaries reduced by amounts equal to the perks.
“The executives make more and the company pays less,” Steinglass said. “A win-win situation for everyone except the helmsman. In the end that is all.”
Defense attorneys all pointed the finger at Weisselberg on Thursday, with attorney Susan Necheles saying, “We’re here today for one reason: Allen Weisselberg’s greed.”
The former CFO will serve five months in prison as part of his plea deal.
Jury deliberations in the case are scheduled to begin on Monday.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/02/donald-trump-was-aware-of-companys-tax-fraud-prosecutors/ Donald Trump was aware of the company’s tax fraud: prosecutors