Trump Organization fined maximum $1.61M in tax fraud case News
islandworks / Pixabay
Trump Organization fined maximum $1.61M in tax fraud case

The Trump Organization Friday was fined $1.61 million, the maximum amount allowed by law, after being found guilty of various fraud charges in a New York state court. Former President Trump’s companies, The Trump Corporation and The Trump Payroll Corporation, were assessed fines of $810,000 and $800,000 respectively.

A New York jury found both entities guilty of a combined 17 fraud charges. Their convictions include scheme to defraud in the first degree, conspiracy in the fourth degree, criminal tax fraud in the third and fourth degrees and falsifying business records in the first degree.

The charges stem from a 2018 investigation initiated by then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. While the investigation initially examined President Trump’s use of private charity funds, investigators expanded their search to other potential criminal activity in 2020. A grand jury indicted both corporations and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg in July 2021 after investigators discovered a 15-year-old tax fraud scheme.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. highlighted the fine’s significance:

The Trump Corporation, and The Trump Payroll Corp. conducted and benefitted from sweeping fraud for well over a decade. While corporations can’t serve jail time, this consequential conviction and sentencing serves as a reminder to corporations and executives that you cannot defraud tax authorities and get away with it.

DA Bragg criticized New York’s sentencing laws for corporations because each company was only liable to a maximum fine of around $800k. He said that this case “is also an important reminder that our state law must change so that we can impose more significant penalties and sanctions on corporations that commit crimes in New York.”

Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 fraud charges in August 2022. He was sentenced to 5 months in prison on January 10. 

In September 2022 New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against Trump over allegations of financial fraud. A judge later granted a preliminary injunction in the case, requiring Trump to report non-cash asset transfers to a court-appointed monitor. On January 7, a New York judge rejected a Trump motion to dismiss James’ suit.