“A case solely focused on fringe benefits is unusual, former prosecutors said. Charging an individual or company for failure to pay taxes on employee benefits alone is rare…”
Carey Dunne, the general counsel of the Manhattan district attorney’s office, told state court Justice Juan Merchan that the charges encompassed a 15-year-long tax-fraud scheme [2005 to 2021] involving off-the-books payments at the Trump Organization. He said Mr. Weisselberg had illegally avoided paying taxes on $1.7 million in income.
“There’s no clearer example of a company that should be held to account,” Mr. Dunne said. “It’s not about politics.”
“The scheme was intended to allow certain employees to substantially understate their compensation from the Trump Organization, so that they could and did pay federal, state, and local taxes in amounts that were significantly less than the amounts that should have been paid,” states the indictment. “The scheme also enabled Weisselberg to obtain tax refunds of amounts previously withheld and remitted to federal and state tax authorities.”
It’s not about politics, but the investigation did not start until Donald Trump became president. Okay, bro. Whatever you say. The case details do not help Dunne’s declaration either:
A case solely focused on fringe benefits is unusual, former prosecutors said. Charging an individual or company for failure to pay taxes on employee benefits alone is rare, though such charges are used as part of larger cases.
Weisselberg and the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty.
The DA’s office claims Weisselberg is “[O]ne of the largest beneficiaries of the defendants’ scheme.” The indictment explains:
During the operation of the scheme, the defendants arranged for Weisselberg to receive indirect employee compensation from the Trump Organization in the approximate amount of $1.76 million. As described below, the defendants enabled Weisselberg to receive this compensation in ways that enabled the corporate defendants to avoid reporting it to the tax authorities, and that did not result in the withholding of income tax by the corporate defendants. Weisselberg then concealed the compensation from his tax preparer and intentionally omitted it from his tax returns. Additionally, Weisselberg concealed for years the fact that he was a resident of New York City who was required to pay New York City income taxes. During the period of the scheme, Weisselberg thereby evaded approximately $556,385 in federal taxes, approximately $106,568 in state taxes, and approximately $238,159 in New York City taxes, and he falsely claimed and received approximately $94,902 in federal tax refunds and approximately $38,222 in state tax refunds, to which he was not entitled.
Weisselberg faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted of grand larceny in the second degree, which is the top charge.
Former President Donald Trump will not face charges this round. The district attorney’s office did not completely rule it out.
The prosecutors are using Weisselberg to nab Trump and his close family members:
The charges are the culmination of prosecutors’ efforts to pressure Mr. Weisselberg into cooperating with their investigation, the Journal has reported. He has so far declined to cooperate, but some defendants do change course when faced with the possibility of prison time, former prosecutors said.
“Everyone has different levels of tolerance for potential consequences,” said Sean Hecker, a white-collar defense attorney and partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) July 1, 2021
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