Karen Fryfield and Luke Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump’s real estate firm in 15 on defrauding tax authorities, a New York prosecutor told a jury Monday in his opening remarks in the Trump Organization’s criminal trial on tax fraud charges.
The case is one of the growing legal issues facing the 76-year-old Trump as he contemplates the 2020.
Paid executives of the Trump Organization between at least 2005 and 15 – including its CFO Alan Weisselberg, a prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said benefits, such as rent and car rentals, were not reported to the tax office. .
Hoffinger said. “The program is conducted, directed and empowered at the highest levels of the company’s accounting department.”
Hoffinger said companies benefited from the program “to the delight of their trusted CFOs. ”, and avoid some taxes.
“Everyone wins here,” Hoffinger said. “Everyone except the tax authorities, of course. The problem with this is that it’s not legal.”
Attorneys for the two Trump Organization units charged in the case — namely Public statements from Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll are expected to be released later Monday.
If convicted, the company, which operates hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world, could face fines of up to $1.6 million. It could also further complicate the real estate company’s ability to do business.
Trump 2024, who is considering re-election to the White House, has not yet been charged in the case. The Trump Organization has pleaded not guilty.
A panel of 15 jurors and six alternate jurors were selected for trial last week in New York State Court in Manhattan. An alternate juror was fired Monday, leaving five.
The trial is expected to last more than a month. A unanimous sentence is required for each conviction of tax fraud, conspiracy to defraud and falsification of business records.
The Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer Alan Weisselberg has agreed to testify as a prosecution witness at the trial, where he will be jailed for five years as part of a plea deal moon.
Weisselberg, who was charged with the company last year, pleaded guilty in August to conspiring with the Trump Organization and others not to report or misreport substantial earnings for him and other employees.
Weisselberg avoided $1 in personal income through luxury perks (such as rent for a Manhattan apartment). 76 Millions of personal income.
Last week, a prosecutor told potential jurors that Weisselberg, who works for the defendants, may be “unwilling” to answer questions.
Weisselberg resigned as chief financial officer when indicted, but remained on payroll as senior advisor. A source told Reuters he was on paid leave after pleading guilty.
But in a pretrial hearing this month, a Trump Organization lawyer accused Weisselberg of lying, suggesting the company is in trouble.
Judge Juan Merchan in the case rejected the argument that the Trump Organization was the target of selective prosecution.
Two top prosecutors in the case resigned in February, with some saying felony charges against Republican Trump were justified, but Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg expressed doubts. Bragg, a Democrat, said the investigation was ongoing.
This case is related to the 250 million dollar filing by the New York Attorney General in September against Trump, his three adult children and his company The civil suit is separate, accusing them of lying to banks and insurance companies by overstating his real estate assets and Trump’s net worth. Appointing a supervisor to oversee a company’s financial practices is a challenge for companies.
Trump also faced a federal criminal investigation when he left office last year for removing government documents from the White House.