Trump Organization fined $1.6 million for tax fraud

Former President Donald Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, was fined $1.6 million on Friday after being found guilty late last year of tax fraud.

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The amount — $810,000 for the Trump Corporation and $800,000 for the Trump Payroll Corp. — was the maximum allowed by law and the amount sought by prosecutors, according to a statement from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

“While corporations can’t serve jail time, this consequential conviction and sentencing serves as a reminder to corporations and executives that you cannot defraud tax authorities and get away with it,” he said. “Today’s sentencing of The Trump Corporation and The Trump Payroll Corp. represents a significant chapter of our ongoing investigation into the former President and his businesses.”

Trump himself was not on trial and denied knowing that his executives illegally evaded paying taxes, The Associated Press reported.

A jury last month found the Trump Organization guilty of 17 tax crimes, including falsifying business records and conspiracy. Authorities said that for 13 years, the company engaged in a sophisticated scheme that gave high-level executives lavish job perks while dodging income taxes. Among the perks was rent on a luxury apartment in Manhattan, Mercedes Benz cars, home furnishings, cash and more.

Attorneys for the Trump Organization on Friday blamed an outside accounting firm, Mazars USA, and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg for the wrongdoing, according to The New York Times. They argued that Mazars USA should have stopped the scheme and that Weisselberg perpetrated it without intending to benefit the Trump Organization, the Times reported.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan rejected the arguments, saying that the claims were “not what the evidence has shown, and it is certainly not what the jury found,” according to the Times.

Attorneys for the Trump Organization have said they plan to appeal the company’s conviction.

Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty last summer to charges related to devising and carrying out the tax fraud scheme and evading taxes on $1.7 million of income. He was sentenced Tuesday to five months in jail.