Allen Weisselberg Charged with Fifteen Counts of Crimes of Scheme to Defraud
On Thursday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance formally indicted the Trump Organization and its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, of the crime scheme to defraud in the first degree during the period of March 31, 2005, to June 30, 2021. Former President Donald Trump himself was not yet charged.
Allen Weisselberg has been charged with 15 counts that include conspiracy, grand larceny in the second degree, multiple counts of tax fraud and multiple counts of falsifying records. The charges extend to the entire Trump Organization and subsidiaries.
Prosecutors alleged that the Trump Organization’s executives received “secret pay raises” while failing to pay the proper amount of taxes. Weisselberg allegedly evaded taxes on more than $1.7 million of unreported income.
“For certain years, the Trump Organization maintained internal spreadsheets that tracked the amounts it paid for Weisselberg’s rent, utility, and garage expenses. Simultaneously, the Trump Organization reduced the amount of direct compensation that Weisselberg received in the form of checks or direct deposits to account for the indirect compensation that he received in the form of payments of rent, utility bills, and garage expenses. The indirect compensation was not included on Weisselberg’s W-2 forms or otherwise reported to federal, state, or local tax authorities, and no income taxes were withheld by the corporate defendants in connection with the indirect compensation.
“To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme,” said prosecutor Carey Dunne.
The main question is how many of the charges can be linked back to former President Donald Trump as the indictment only refers to him as undictated co-conspirators. Vance is likely looking for additional evidence against Trump that will most likely come if Weisselberg testify against him in exchange for immunity. Weisselberg has plead not guilty on all 15 counts.
Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg who provided evidence in the case, has stated that she believes Weisselberg will in fact eventually flip on his employer.
“Allen Weisselberg is a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather who has worked at the Trump Organization for 48 years,” the Trump Organization said in a statement. “He is now being used by the Manhattan district attorney as a pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president. The district attorney is bringing a criminal prosecution involving employee benefits that neither the IRS nor any other district attorney would ever think of bringing. This is not justice; this is politics.”
The big picture is that this indictment of the Trump Organization and its Chief Financial Officer is a key first step on the path to full accountability and Trump may not be out of the woods yet.