(NEW YORK) — Allen Weisselberg, one of former President Donald Trump’s most trusted and loyal employees, will face sentencing Tuesday after he pleaded guilty last year to 15 state crimes then testified against the Trump Organization this past fall.
Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty in August to devising and operating a 15-year scheme to defraud federal, state and city tax authorities by evading more than $1.7 million in taxes on unreported income in the form of company-provided perks that included the rent on his Manhattan, New York apartment, the leases on cars for himself and his wife and tuition for his grandchildren.
As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, he testified in the subsequent trial of the Trump Organization, which a Manhattan jury found guilty last month of criminal tax fraud for paying the personal expenses of some executives without reporting them as income, and of compensating them as independent contractors instead of full-time employees.
Weisselberg, while no longer the company’s chief financial officer, remained employed with Trump’s family real estate firm and expected to make more than $1 million last year in salary and bonuses, according to his testimony.
He was promised a sentence of five months in jail to be served on Rikers Island and five years’ probation in exchange for his testimony, and agreed to repay nearly $2 million in taxes owed.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August to one count of grand larceny in the second degree; three counts of criminal tax fraud in the third degree; one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree; one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree; one count of criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree; four counts of offering a false Instrument for filing in the first degree; and four counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.
“Allen Weisselberg admitted in Court that he used his position at the Trump Organization to bilk taxpayers and enrich himself,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said at the time of his guilty plea. “Instead of paying his fair share like everyone else, Weisselberg had the Trump Organization provide him with a rent-free apartment, expensive cars, private school tuition for his grandchildren and new furniture — all without paying required taxes.”
Weisselberg’s attorney, Nicholas Gravante, declined to comment in advance of Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, but said he would make a statement when it was over.
Weisselberg testified at the trial of the Trump Organization that he reduced his reported salary by the total amount of personal expenses paid and that the company benefited by paying less in payroll taxes. He also testified his primary motive was greed.
As part of this testimony, he told a story about sitting with Trump in his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower one day in 2012 when Donald Trump Jr. walked in with checks for his father to sign to cover tuition payments for Don Jr.’s children.
Trump looked over at Weisselberg with a chuckle and said, “I might as well pay for your grandkids too,” according to Weisselberg’s testimony.
Trump then began paying $100,000 a year for Weisselberg’s two grandchildren to attend Columbia Grammar School. Weisselberg did not declare it as income and never paid taxes on it, he testified.
Trump, who was not a defendant in the case against the Trump Organization, denied any wrongdoing and called the case “a continuation of the Greatest Political Witch Hunt in the History of our Country.”
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