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Trump organization & CFO indicted for tax fraud

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  • Chamberlain

Following the indictment of the Trump Organization and its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg on tax fraud charges, one expert says the case lays the groundwork for potential future charges against the company and puts pressure on former U.S. president Donald Trump.

Trump is not charged with any wrongdoing in the case, but remains a focus of the ongoing investigation.

Prosecutors allege the 15-year tax fraud scheme was "orchestrated by the most senior executives" at the Trump Organization with some employees collecting more than US$1.7 million in off-the-books compensation, including apartment rent, car payments and school tuition.

Dalia Fahmy, an associate professor of political science at Long Island University, told CTV News Channel this case "is just the beginning" of charges the company -- and Trump -- may face.

"There's defrauding, there's conspiracy, there's criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records -- these are really heavy white collar crimes," Fahmy said in an interview on Thursday.

Fahmy believes that the prosecutor’s strategy in this case was to "start small and work up to the bigger fish to fry."

"Prosecutors are hoping that by laying out these charges at Weisselberg's door... [they'll] get his co-operation on other investigations to show the Trump empire that they actually could face some more charges if they don't co-operate," she explained.

However, she acknowledged that this is a risky prosecution to make, given Weisselberg's loyalty to Trump.

"Whether [Weisselberg] turns or not will determine the extent with which the former president gets charged with these white collar crimes," Fahmy said.

"He's been very loyal to the president, but there's something very different to being finally handcuffed and arrested and having to surrender your passport," she added.

However, Fahmy says "we don’t know what makes a person turn" on another in situations like these.

"We do know that based on history that the former president doesn't take disloyalty very well and also hasn't ever stuck by someone to the end, so it could be that this is a turning point," she said.

The tax fraud case against Weisselberg and the Trump organization is being led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Fahmy noted that this isn’t the only case that Vance is pursuing against the former U.S. president and his enterprise.

Vance has been investigating a wide range of matters involving Trump and the Trump Organization, such as hush-money payments made to women on Trump's behalf and whether the company falsified the value of its properties to obtain loans or reduce its tax bills.

Both Weisselberg and lawyers for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to the charges on Thursday.

In a statement, Trump condemned the case as a "political Witch Hunt by the Radical Left Democrats," while Weisselberg's lawyers said he will "fight these charges."


Just the beginning? Should be interesting . . .


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  • Chamberlain

Indictment May Mean Trouble For Trump Spawn

The indictment filed last week against the Trump Organization and its long-time chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg isn’t heavy on names, but there’s one major exception: a list of seven Trump Organization companies—including one where Ivanka Trump held an executive role for eight years.

While it’s impossible to know what charges are still to come, legal experts say the indictment for Weisselberg last week suggests bigger targets are in line, potentially including the former president’s adult children.

“Since this indictment is in a New York state court, prosecutors are allowed to name these companies, whereas in federal court they could not,” Melissa Jampol, a former assistant U.S. attorney who now practices business law at Epstein Becker Green, told The Daily Beast. “Based on my experience, everything’s in there for a reason.”

Prosecutors say the seven companies, along with unnamed Trump entities, exhibited a pattern of paying “a substantial portion” of year-end bonuses to Weisselberg and “other executives” as if they weren’t employees, but independent contractors. Prosecutors also claim the companies and executives knew the practice was wrong, and the amounts appear to be substantial. For instance, Weisselberg allegedly broke the law by putting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonus money in a tax-free pension plan.

But experts say the arrangement also implicates the companies—and possibly the executives who ran them.

That could spell major trouble for Trump’s children, as well as Trump himself, who has already adopted a legal strategy of ignorance of the tax laws.





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