The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer were hit with multiple charges yesterday (July 1) as prosecutors accused the company of committing fraud and tax evasion for 16 years. A grand jury returned a 15-count, 25-page indictment against the Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg. Both Weisselberg and the company's lawyers pleaded not guilty to the crimes.
According to CNN, the Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corporation were charged with 10 counts while Weisselberg was charged with 15 felony counts in connection to the alleged scheme. The charges include scheming to defraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records.
According to the indictment, prosecutors say the Trump Organization funneled over $1.7 million in untaxed “indirect employee compensation” to Weisselberg starting in 2005. The company also failed to properly report the payments to tax authorities, prosecutors added.
“It was orchestrated by the most senior executives, who were financially benefiting themselves and the company by getting secret pay raises at the expense of state and federal taxpayers,” Carey Dunne, an assistant district attorney, told the judge.
In a statement, New York Attorney General Letitia James said the indictment “is an important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump Organization and its CFO.”
“This investigation will continue and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead,” she added.
Weisselberg surrendered himself to police early Thursday morning and was handcuffed for his arraignment. He was released from custody after giving up his passport and is due back in court on Sept. 20.
Trump has not been charged with any crimes, though a lawyer for the Trump Organization told the Associated Press that the former president is not “out of the woods yet completely.” Trump previously blasted investigators as “rude, nasty and totally biased” and claimed the company’s actions are “things that are standard practice throughout the U.S. business community and [are] in no way a crime.”
“This is a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in American history,” he said about the investigation in May. “It began the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower and it’s never stopped.”