Trump Organization CFO to plead guilty in tax-dodge scheme and will agree to testify against the company, but source says he will not incriminate Donald Trump

·3 min read
Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg appears in a New York court after turning himself in to authorities on July 01, 2021 in New York City.
Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg appears in a New York court after turning himself in to authorities on July 01, 2021 in New York City.Photo by Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump's former CFO will admit in Manhattan on Thursday that he conspired to dodge payroll taxes on $1.7 million in income over 15 years.

  • Allen Weisselberg will serve 5 months in jail, and may be required to testify against the Trump Organization, a source told Insider.

  • But Weisselberg has nothing incriminating to say against anyone named Trump, the source stressed.

The Trump Organization's ex-chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg will plead guilty on Thursday to a company tax-dodge scheme in a low-jail deal with the Manhattan District Attorney's office, Insider has learned.

Under the deal, Weisselberg will agree before a judge to testify against his co-defendant, the Trump Organization, when the tax-dodge indictment goes on trial; an October 24 trial date was set on Friday.

But a source with knowledge of the deal stressed to Insider that Weisselberg has nothing incriminating to say about anyone with the last name of Trump and if called to testify, would tell a jury just that.

In return for his admission of guilt and potential testimony, Weisselberg, 75, will serve 5 months — 100 days — likely in New York City's notorious Rikers Island jail. He will also serve probation, the source said in describing the deal. Additionally, Weisselberg will have to pay back taxes along with penalties and interest.

It's a favorable outcome for Weisselberg, considering that the top grand larceny charge for allegedly pocketing thousands in fraudulently-obtained federal tax refunds usually carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year behind bars — and a possible maximum sentence of 15 years.

But the threat of Weisselberg's trial testimony is also a potential black eye for the former president's multi-billion-dollar real estate and golf resort company. The Trump Organization faces potential fines and faces a felony conviction for allegedly conspiring to underreport Weisselberg's income to federal tax authorities.

In taking his plea on Thursday, Weisselberg is expected to admit that he conspired with someone he supervised  — former Trump Organization comptroller, Jeffrey McConney — to pay McConney and possibly other company executives in perks such as cash, apartments and cars that were not then subject to payroll taxes.

Still, Weisselberg can't hurt McConney, who testified under subpoena with the DA's grand jury last year, and who therefore has immunity from prosecution, according to prior court filings in the case. McConney himself told grand jurors that to whatever extent fringe benefits were not reported as taxable income, it was his own error.

Neither Weisselberg nor McConney has implicated Trump in the alleged tax-dodge scheme. According to the source and to defense filings from January, Weisselberg has not testified or otherwise cooperated at all in the DA's probe of Trump and his business, a three-year inquiry that to date has resulted only in the payroll tax-dodge indictment.

And McConney, too, has been less than enlightening. In his testimony last year, he told grand jurors that "at the time of the alleged events in question, he did not think that he did anything wrong," and "did not understand or believe that he was assisting Mr. Weisselberg to commit a tax fraud," the filings said.

Weisselberg, the longtime top executive for the Trump Organization and Trump family bookeeper, was previously expected to plead guilty in the upcoming deal, as first reported by the New York Times. He and the organization were accused last summer of 15 felony counts that include scheme to defraud, conspiracy, and grand larceny.

The charges came from a "sweeping and audacious payment scheme," prosecutors have said, where Weisselberg skirted paying taxes on up to $1.7 million in income — pay he instead enjoyed in the form of free apartments, cars, and tuition for his grandchildren — over the course of 15 years beginning in March 2005.

A spokesperson the DA's office declined to comment.

 

Read the original article on Business Insider