NEW YORK: Allen Weisselberg, the long-time chief financial officer of the Trump Organisation, pleaded guilty on Thursday to tax fraud and agreed to testify at an upcoming criminal trial of the former US president’s real estate company.
The 75-year-old Weisselberg, who served as CFO of the Trump Organisation from 2005 to 2021, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of tax fraud, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.
Weisselberg admitted his involvement in a 15-year scheme with co-defendant the Trump Organisation to defraud federal, New York State and New York City tax authorities, Bragg said.
Weisselberg is to serve five months in prison contingent on his testifying truthfully at the October criminal trial of the Trump Organisation on tax fraud charges, Bragg said.
Weisselberg has steadfastly refused to deliver testimony against Donald Trump personally. The 76-year-old Trump served as president and owner of the Trump Organisation until 2017, when he entered the White House.
But the former Trump Organisation executive could face additional prison time if he fails to testify at the criminal trial of the real estate company. Jury selection in the Trump Organisation trial on tax fraud charges is scheduled to begin October 24, Bragg said.
In the plea agreement, Weisselberg admitted evading payment of taxes due on $1.76 million in unreported income. He will be required to repay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest.
“Today Allen Weisselberg admitted in court that he used his position at the Trump Organisation to bilk taxpayers and enrich himself,” Bragg said.
“Weisselberg had the Trump Organisation provide him with a rent-free apartment, expensive cars, private school tuition for his grandchildren and new furniture — all without paying required taxes,” he said.
“This plea agreement directly implicates the Trump Organisation in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation,” he said. “We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organisation.”
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2022