Aug. 19 (UPI) — A top executive at the Trump Organization pleaded guilty Thursday to 15 charges, including tax evasion, in a deal that will make him a witness against the company at trial this fall.
Company Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg entered the plea in a Manhattan court to the charges stemming from a 15-year scheme to evade city, state and federal taxes on $1.76 million in unreported income.
The charges against Weisselberg included grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing.
Weisselberg is the latest person connected to former President Donald Trump to be convicted of a felony. The others include Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen and former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
With his guilty pleas, Weisselberg admitted to engaging in the scheme to defraud together with the Trump Corp. and the Trump Payroll Corp., specifically implicating the Trump Organization in the criminal charges.
“During the scheme up until 2017, former President Donald J. Trump was president and owner of the Trump Organization,” the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
“The court promised Weisselberg a sentence of five months in jail to be served on Rikers Island and five years’ probation, contingent on Weisselberg testifying truthfully in the upcoming criminal trial of the Trump Organization by providing truthful testimony as to the facts underlying his allocution and plea.”
Weisselberg also must pay nearly $2 million to New York City and the state.
The district attorney’s office said the trial against the company, which is based on similar charges, is set to start Oct. 24.
“Today, Allen Weisselberg admitted in court that he used his position at the Trump Organization to bilk taxpayers and enrich himself,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.
“Instead of paying his fair share like everyone else, Weisselberg had the Trump Organization provide him with a rent-free apartment, expensive cars, private school tuition for his grandchildren and new furniture — all without paying required taxes.
“This plea agreement directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation,” Bragg added.
Weisselberg’s attorney said his client pleaded guilty to end the legal troubles that have followed him for years.