Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, pleads guilty to tax evasion – ABC News | Vette Leader

Allen Weisselberg, who first met Donald Trump in the 1970s when he started working for Trump’s father, pleaded guilty Thursday in New York to charges of running a year-long tax avoidance scheme when he Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization.

Weisselberg pleaded guilty to all 15 counts — including conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records — and admitted to evading taxes on nearly $2 million in income, including fringe benefits like rent, luxury cars and private school fees for his grandchildren.

The lawsuit relates to former President Trump’s family business of the same name, which was indicted by Manhattan prosecutors in the same indictment.

“In one of the most difficult decisions of his life, Mr. Weisselberg decided to enter a guilty plea today to put an end to this case and the years of legal and personal nightmares he and his family have caused,” he said of Weisselberg’s attorney, Nicholas Gravante Jr .: “Rather than risk the possibility of 15 years in prison, he has agreed to serve 100 days. We are glad to have this behind us.”

Weisselberg repeatedly responded, “Yes, Your Honor,” when Judge Juan Merchan asked a series of questions about the tax evasion system and admitted that he had misrepresented compensation, including a luxury apartment on Manhattan’s Riverside Drive, several Mercedes-Benzes -Cars, cash, private school fees for his grandchildren and extra houses.

As part of his plea, Weisselberg, 75, agreed to serve five months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. He also agreed to testify against the Trump Organization if the company goes to trial in connection with the alleged compensation program beginning in October.

If he doesn’t testify truthfully, the deal will fall through and Weißelberg will face an additional prison sentence of between five and 15 years.

Allen Howard Weisselberg, former CFO of the Trump Organization, arrives for a hearing before the New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York on August 18, 2022.

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

“The defendant must agree to testify truthfully in the Trump Organization trial,” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass said.

The plea agreement does not include an obligation for Trump’s longtime CFO to cooperate in the criminal case against Trump himself over whether the former president knowingly misled tax officials, lenders and insurance brokers by presenting inaccurate accounts of the value of his real estate portfolio has submitted.

Weisselberg also has to pay $1.94 million in taxes and penalties.

“Today Allen Weisselberg admitted in court that he used his position at the Trump Organization to defraud taxpayers and enrich himself,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. “This agreement directly implicates the Trump Organization in a broad spectrum of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony against the company in the upcoming trial. We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organization.”

A case of corporate tax fraud was not what prosecutors were looking for. When they first filed charges against Weisselberg last summer, prosecutors hoped Weisselberg would turn against Trump, sources told ABC News.

“Allen Weisselberg, a longtime trusted associate of the Trump Organization, is a fine and honorable man who, for the last 4 years, has been harassed, stalked and threatened by law enforcement, particularly the Manhattan District Attorney, in their never-ending, politically motivated Find President Trump,” said a spokesman for the Trump Organization. “Mr. Weisselberg, who has just turned 75, in an effort to put this matter behind him and move on with his life, has decided that the best course of action — for himself and his family – is to plead guilty. However, the two Trump companies targeted by Manhattan DAs will not object for the simple reason that they did nothing wrong.”

Trump asserted his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination last week as part of a parallel civil investigation by New York City attorneys.

“For years, Mr. Weisselberg broke the law to line his own pockets and fund a lavish lifestyle. Today this misconduct ends. Let this guilty plea send a message loud and clear: We will crack down on anyone who steals personal gain from the public because no one is above the law,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement following Weisselberg’s guilty plea Thursday.

The criminal investigation, which began under former Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, appeared to have stalled earlier this year when the two lead prosecutors who led it resigned in frustration that Bragg did not immediately seek an indictment against Trump , sources told ABC News.

Bragg’s office said the investigation was ongoing.

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