A Manhattan jury convicted former President Donald Trump’s real-estate organization on Tuesday of a 13-year tax-fraud scheme that saw the company compensate some of its top executives with off-the-books perks, which allowed them to avoid paying income taxes.
The jury found The Trump Corporation and The Trump Payroll Corp. guilty of 17 total felony counts, including first-degree scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records.
The two Trump companies, both of which are part of the overarching entity known as the Trump Organization, picked up the tab for benefits like luxury car leases, a Manhattan apartment, parking garage fees and school tuition as a way of compensating some employees, most notably Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.
But the companies never reported those perks on their tax forms, which meant the executives weren’t forced to pay income tax. Prosecutors successfully made the case that the scheme defrauded the federal, state and local governments of tax revenue.
The jury began deliberations around noon Monday and delivered its guilty verdict around 4 p.m. Tuesday at state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
“This was a case about greed and cheating,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office led the prosecution, said in a statement. “In Manhattan, no corporation is above the law.”
The former president was not personally named as a defendant in the criminal case, in which Weisselberg previously pleaded guilty to 15 felonies and testified at the Trump Organization’s trial.
“Disappointed with the verdict in Manhattan, but will appeal,” Trump said in a statement. “After looking at millions of pages of documents, over many years, much to the detriment of record setting murder and other forms of violent crime that are taking place in New York City, the government was able to get an employee to ‘plea’ in order for a very reduced sentence.”
In a post to his Truth Social platform in the hours prior to the verdict being reached, Trump accused Bragg of “fighting a political Witch Hunt for D.C. against ‘Trump’ over Fringe Benefits.” After the verdict, Trump’s attorney told reporters he plans to appeal, according to Reuters.
Weisselberg was the main beneficiary of the scheme, receiving perks that amounted to $1.76 million in unreported income, according to the district attorney.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 13, at which point the Trump Organization faces a maximum penalty of $1.62 million, according to The New York Times.
The criminal case is separate from a civil fraud suit filed in September by state Attorney General Letitia James, whose office has been working with the Manhattan district attorney on Trump-related matters.
That civil suit accused Trump, three of his adult children and his companies of systematically falsifying Trump’s balance sheets over the course of a decade, which helped them take in more than $250 million in fraudulent benefits.
James’ suit seeks to have Trump and the companies repay those benefits, and also seeks a wide array of business sanctions, including a five-year ban on completing real estate transactions in New York.
In a statement Tuesday, James said the criminal court verdict “sends a clear message that no one, and no organization, is above our laws.”