Former President Donald Trump’s two companies—the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corp.—have received the maximum possible sentence of $1.61 million on multiple tax fraud-related felony convictions.
The two companies are part of the Trump Organization, which is a group of around 500 businesses of which Trump is the principal or sole owner.
“Today, former President Trump’s companies were sentenced to the maximum fines allowed by law following historic convictions for a total of 17 felony crimes,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday.
“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 added.
Trump’s two companies intentionally committed a “sophisticated tax fraud scheme” for over a decade at Trump Tower offices, Bragg’s office said.
‘Never-Ending Witch Hunt’In a statement released after sentencing, the Trump Organization denied any wrongdoing and said it would appeal.
“These politically motivated prosecutors will stop at nothing to get President Trump and continue the never ending witch-hunt which began the day he announced his presidency,” it said.
Shortly before the conviction was handed down at the beginning of December, Trump wrote on Truth Social that Bragg was “fighting a political Witch Hunt for D.C.” when he should be focused on prosecuting violent criminals.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Bragg said he wished the penalty had been bigger.
“I want to be very clear: we don’t think that is enough,” he said. “Our laws in this state need to change in order to capture this type of decade-plus systemic and egregious fraud.”
Bragg’s predecessor, former Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, also a Democrat, brought the charges in 2021.
The criminal case against the two Trump Organization businesses involved financial practices and pay arrangements that were discontinued when Trump was elected president in 2016.
WeisselbergAt trial, prosecutors presented evidence the companies defrauded authorities by labeling payments to top-level employees, including then-Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, as personal expenses and not reporting them so as to avoid paying taxes.
Weisselberg received $1.7 million in unreported payments, including the payment of rent on an apartment in the borough of Manhattan.
During the trial, Weisselberg took full responsibility for the crimes, telling jurors from the witness stand that, “It was my own personal greed that led to this.”
The former CFO will serve his sentence at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York, with a judge saying he could be eligible for early release after three months on good behavior.
At trial, the Trump Organization argued that Weisselberg carried out the scheme in order to benefit himself.
“The question here is not whether as a byproduct, the company saved some money,” Susan Necheles, a defense lawyer, said in her closing arguments. “His intent was to benefit himself, not the company.”
Trump recently said that his family received “no economic gain from the acts done by the executive.”