A court in Manhattan, New York has found former US President Donald Trump’s real estate company guilty of criminal fraud, three weeks after he announced his re-election bid in 2024.
The court found two Trump company entities guilty of scheme to defraud, conspiracy, tax fraud and falsifying business records.
Two Trump Organization entities — Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation — were accused of paying some executives’ personal expenses without reporting them as income and compensating them as independent contractors instead of full-time employees.
Each subject was charged with scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records.
Prosecutors believed the Trump Organization was guilty because CFO Allen Weisselberg’s conduct benefited the company and because his position as CFO meant he was trusted to act on behalf of the company.
Weisselberg, who testified as part of a plea deal, pleaded guilty in August to charges that he evaded taxes on nearly $2 million in benefits provided by the company that included rent for his Manhattan apartment, car rentals for himself and his wife and education for his grandchildren.
Prosecutors, however, insisted that the Trump Organization benefited from Weisselberg’s tax avoidance.
Prosecutors alleged that Trump explicitly sanctioned tax fraud when he signed off on part of the scheme.
“This whole narrative that Donald Trump is extremely ignorant is not true,” Assistant District Attorney Josh Steinglass said during closing statements.
The conviction carries fines of up to $1.7 million. But the collateral consequences of a conviction could be more significant for Trump, who is seeking a second term in the White House. Banks can take out loans and business partners can cancel contracts if their internal policies prevent them from doing business with criminals.
The lawsuit also revealed potentially dangerous details about Trump, including that it reported nearly $1 billion in operating losses over a two-year period in 2009 and 2010, as well as losses every year for the decade between 2009 and 2018.