Weisselberg trial: Trump and two sons part of fraud scheme

badlatitude

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Any deliberate fraud is still fraud.

Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg testified in court Thursday, describing how Donald Trump and two of his children allegedly participated in a scheme to defraud tax authorities.

Weisselberg said Donald Trump, or at times Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr., signed checks to pay up to $100,000 for private school tuition for Weisselberg's grandchildren. Weisselberg said he then instructed the company's controller to deduct the $100,000 from his salary, allowing him to report a smaller income. Copies of some of the checks signed by the Trumps have been shown in court.

Weisselberg said the first time Trump signed a tuition check, Weisselberg told him, "Don't forget, I'm going to pay you back for this." The payback, he said, was the salary reduction.

Two Trump Organization entities and Weisselberg are accused of more than a dozen counts of fraud and tax evasion. Weisselberg entered a guilty plea in August, admitting to charges filed by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office accusing him of receiving more than $1.7 million in untaxed compensation.

Weisselberg, who is still on the Trump Organization's payroll, has over the first two days of testimony described a litany of benefits he and several other executives received for which he said their salaries were similarly reduced to avoid paying taxes.

He said for himself and several other executives, the salary reductions were then mitigated by hefty bonus checks paid to the executives as if they were independent contractors for Trump Organization entities.

"Donald Trump always wanted to sign the bonus checks" before he became president in 2017, Weisselberg said.

That practice ceased during the next two years after an internal review led to changes at the company, he said.

"We were going through a company-wide cleanup process, making sure that since Mr. Trump was now president, everything was being done properly," Weisselberg said.

Defense attorney Alan Futerfas later asked Weisselberg, "(Trump) didn't authorize you to commit tax fraud did he?"

"Of course not," Weisselberg replied.

Weisselberg said the funds delivered as independent contractor payments were used to set up Keogh retirement plans, tax-deferred pension accounts designed for people who are self-employed.

Defense attorneys for the Trump Organization have said the company did nothing wrong, and laid the scheme squarely at Weisselberg's feet, saying he hid the salary reductions and independent contractor payments from the Trumps.

Futerfas asked Weisselberg, "What human being did you scheme with?"

Weisselberg replied, "Jeff McConney," referring to the company's controller, who previously testified during the trial. McConney was granted immunity in exchange for grand jury testimony in the case, and blamed Weisselberg for the scheme.

Futerfas continued with questions seeking to differentiate the Trumps from the executives who worked beneath them.

"Did you conspire with any member of the Trump family?" Futerfas asked.

"No," Weisselberg replied.

"Did you scheme with Jeff McConney?" Futerfas asked.

"Yes," Weisselberg replied.

"Did you scheme with any member of the Trump family?" Futerfas asked.

"No," Weisselberg replied.

Later, Futerfas asked, "Aside from family members, you were among the most trusted people they knew. Is that right?"

"Correct," Weisselberg replied.

Soon after, Futerfas asked, "Are you embarrassed about what you did?"

Choking up, Weisselberg replied, "More than you can imagine."

Earlier Thursday, Weisselberg said under questioning by a prosecutor that other executives at the company were active participants in, and beneficiaries of, similar salary and bonus arrangements.

Weisselberg described arranging for his son Barry's family to live in a newly-renovated apartment on New York's tony Central Park South. He said the location was convenient for Barry Weisselberg's job as manager of an ice rink and carousel run by the Trump Organization in Central Park. Allen Weisselberg said his son paid $500 out of pocket and $500 from his salary per month to rent the apartment, which he described as a "below market" rate.

At the time, Allen Weisselberg and his wife lived in an $8,200 per month company-owned apartment under a lease agreement signed by Donald Trump himself.

Allen Weisselberg said he provided his son's tax paperwork for preparation to the outside accountant who was in charge of the entire Trump Organization's annual tax account. Allen Weisselberg said his son's reported salary at the time "was probably lower than it should have been."

Peter Stambleck, an attorney for Barry Weisselberg, declined to comment.

 

SloopJonB

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Sounds like they are using the Capone prosecution theory.

Federal tax evasion is one of the worst crimes in the catalogue as far as governments are concerned.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
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Sounds like they are using the Capone prosecution theory.

Federal tax evasion is one of the worst crimes in the catalogue as far as governments are concerned.

It's not the WORST crime, it is the most easily PROVEABLE crime.

Also, it's convictable. Most Americans would probably have some sympathy for a tax cheat, and be likely to acquit; but then the proof of years of ridiculously extravagant expenses (air conditioned dog houses, having a hair stylist flown in from Rome twice a week, bathing daily in champagne, monogrammed gold currycombs for the horses, etc etc) tends to erode sympathy for the tax cheat and they start getting resentful and vote to convict.
 

Mrleft8

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Some people..... Or doggedly obstinate critters, would say that the prosecutor in this case needs to be more objective, and think of justice, not to just prosecute a crime which the DA has deemed worthy of prosecution....
So in this particular case, in which the defendant has admitted guilt... Should the prosecutor just say; "Well, you admitted that you're guilty, we don't need to go any farther. Next time be a good boy!"?
 

Bus Driver

Bacon Quality Control Specialist

Trump Organization's outside accountant testifies he 'would have had a heart attack' if he'd seen the 'secret' Christmas bonus lists


For years, former President Donald Trump personally signed stacks of bonus checks that were then stuffed into the holiday cards of favored company executives, jurors have already heard in the trial.

But the yearly executive bonus handouts were part of a 15-year payroll tax dodge scheme that reached right to the top of the company, prosecutors are trying to prove.


The bonuses should have been reported in their entirety on company W-2s each year, as taxable income. But they were not, prosecutors have charged.
 

Peter Andersen

Anarchist
607
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Feel the same way. Crooked maybe but who all did it really hurt?

The BIG charges will come from the DoJ, over all the facets of the Coup Attempt that led even to the Jan 6 violence.
You forgot the 'easily convictable' part. They will never get him on Jan 6th..
 

Peter Andersen

Anarchist
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You could be right. The evidence is obvious, but convincing a jury is a crap game.

Probably the most ridiculous partisan opinion television fantasy television station on either side is MSNBC. Im shocked anyone would consider it a valid place to cite anything. They can get him on taxes, Georgia, possibly taking some papers home. But not Jan 6. He offered Nat Guard troops and was turned down. Some Capitol police were escorting them in. It will never happen.

Its amazing that he organized and planned the event to begin with. Regardless of its eventual size and getting out of control. Reasonable thinking people should not support him for that alone. But some always will.
 
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Fakenews

Super Anarchist
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Trump Organization's outside accountant testifies he 'would have had a heart attack' if he'd seen the 'secret' Christmas bonus lists


For years, former President Donald Trump personally signed stacks of bonus checks that were then stuffed into the holiday cards of favored company executives, jurors have already heard in the trial.

But the yearly executive bonus handouts were part of a 15-year payroll tax dodge scheme that reached right to the top of the company, prosecutors are trying to prove.


The bonuses should have been reported in their entirety on company W-2s each year, as taxable income. But they were not, prosecutors have charged.
Umm sure. He didn’t care because he wasn’t doing an audit. If he had been auditing the statements instead of blindly compiling whatever Trump org sent their way he’d have known about the payments almost immediately. auditing cash is the first thing assigned to junior staff on an engagement.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,405
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Eastern NC
Probably the most ridiculous partisan opinion television fantasy television station on either side is MSNBC. Im shocked anyone would consider it a valid place to cite anything. They can get him on taxes, Georgia, possibly taking some papers home. But not Jan 6. He offered Nat Guard troops and was turned down. Some Capitol police were escorting them in. It will never happen.
...
Liar.

Trump did neither of those things, he egged the insurrectionists on to kill VP Pence via tweet.
 




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