It is no secret that high-net-worth individuals do what they can to minimize the amount they pay in taxes. But they do not always face the consequences of their actions. Now, Allen Weisselberg has pleaded guilty to tax violations.
Weisselberg was the CFO of former President Donald Trump’s company. He left the CFO role after his indictment on the tax charges in July 2021. However, he is still a senior adviser on Trump’s payroll.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty to each of 15 different felony charges in August. These included the charge of accepting over $1.76 million in compensation off-the-books, which occurred over the course of five years. Not all of that compensation was in the form of cash. It also included perks, such as school tuition, car payments, and rent. Given that the rent was on a Manhattan apartment and the car payments included two Mercedes-Benz leases, the numbers added up quickly.
The charges specifically say that Weisselberg didn’t pay taxes on these perks. He was indicted in July 2021 on charges that included falsifying business records, tax fraud, and scheming to defraud. He surrendered himself to authorities but pled “not guilty.”
Because Weisselberg pled guilty, he was sentenced to five months in jail. Good behavior while in jail may mean he gets released much earlier. The result would have been entirely different if he had let the case go to trial and been found guilty there. That would have led to years in prison.
Additionally, Weisselberg will have to pay almost $2 million in taxes, along with interest and penalties.
The other big part of Weisselberg’s plea bargain is that he has to testify in court. He will appear as a prosecution witness in the trial against the Trump Organization for related charges.
What Weisselberg Has to Say
While Weisselberg has not said anything about this plea, his lawyer Nicholas Gravante, Jr., explained that pleading guilty “put an end to this case.” He also referred to the “years-long legal and personal nightmares it has caused for him and his family.” He went on to say, “We are glad to have this behind him.”
Why This Matters
At the most basic level, Weisselberg pleading guilty to tax fraud is just another example of how the rich can avoid paying their fair share. This just happens to be a case where the rich is held accountable.
He Has to Testify
The big news for this tax fraud plea is that Weisselberg may have to testify in court. Specifically, he would have to testify about the illegal business practices of the Trump Organization.
This testimony is expected to be very helpful in court. The judge who decided Weisselberg’s sentence hopes that it will make a significant difference in the case against the Trump Organization. The company has pleaded not guilty.
His Cooperation With the Probe
While Weisselberg’s plea deal means he has to testify in court, it doesn’t require any other cooperation. There is no indication that he will cooperate with Manhattan prosecutors in their Trump probe. In fact, a source told Reuters that he is unlikely to cooperate with them.
More on the Upcoming Trial
Given the importance of the upcoming Trump Organization trial, what will transpire in the next few months is crucial. The Jury selection will start on October 24. If the company is convicted, it may face penalties and fines.
Allen Weisselberg is subject to hefty fines and must serve a short jail sentence as part of his guilty plea for tax fraud and evasion. But more importantly, he will also have to testify in the upcoming case against the Trump Organization, which also focuses on tax fraud.
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