Trump executive Weisselberg sentenced to 5 months for tax fraud

The executive’s testimony led to charges against the Trump Organization, although he said Trump was unaware of misdeeds.

Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, center, appears during his sentencing hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court in New York City, the US.
Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg has been sentenced to five months in jail [Curtis Means/The Associated Press]

Longtime Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg has been sentenced to five months in prison for tax fraud and taken into custody in New York City.

The former Trump Organization chief financial officer had delivered testimony that helped convict the company in 2022 of tax fraud in a Manhattan court. But Weisselberg maintained that neither the company’s namesake, former President Donald Trump, nor his family knew about the scheme as it was happening.

On Tuesday, Weisselberg was handcuffed and taken into custody moments after the sentence was announced. He was expected to be taken to New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex.

Weisselberg’s five-month sentence had previously been negotiated in August when he agreed to plead guilty to 15 tax crimes and testify against the company. He faced up to 15 years in prison without the agreement.

As part of the plea agreement, Judge Juan Manuel Merchan also ordered Weisselberg to pay nearly $2m in taxes, penalties and interest. Weisselberg will also have to complete five years of probation after his jail term is finished.

Weisselberg’s three days of testimony at the trial against the Trump Organization offered a glimpse into the inner workings of Trump’s real estate empire.

Weisselberg had worked for the Trump family for nearly 50 years, starting as an accountant for the former president’s developer father, Fred Trump, in 1973. He later joined Donald Trump in 1986, helping expand the company’s focus beyond New York City as it became a global golf and hotel brand.

During his testimony, Weisselberg said he had betrayed the Trump family by conspiring with a subordinate to hide more than a decade’s worth of extras from being included as part of his taxable income. Those perks included a free Manhattan apartment, luxury cars and his grandchildren’s private school tuition.

Weisselberg said the pair doctored payroll records and issued falsified W-2 forms to obscure the costs.

Despite the charges, Weisselberg has remained close to the Trump Organization, staying on its payroll and receiving holiday bonuses. He even celebrated his 75th birthday at Trump Tower with cake and colleagues in August, just hours after finalising the plea agreement that ushered his transformation from loyal executive to prosecution witness.

A Manhattan jury ultimately convicted the Trump Organization in December. It found that Weisselberg had been a “high managerial” agent entrusted to act on behalf of the company and its various entities as he committed his misdeeds.

In their closing argument, prosecutors also alleged that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” at the company and that evidence, including a lease Trump signed for Weisselberg’s apartment, made clear “Mr Trump is explicitly sanctioning tax fraud”.

The Trump Organization is set to be sentenced on Friday and faces a fine of up to $1.6m.

But while the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is still investigating the former president’s business practices, Weisselberg is the only individual to be charged in the Trump Organization probe to date.

The executive also remains a defendant in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s $250 million civil lawsuit alleging that Trump and his company inflated asset values and Trump’s net worth.

Source: News Agencies