Ex-Trump Executive: Longtime executive for Donald Trump’s business empire Allen Weisselberg was arrested on Tuesday to start serving a five-month prison sentence for evading taxes on $1.7 million in employee benefits.
The judge who sentenced him said the ruling was likely too lenient for a case “driven entirely by greed.” When Weisselberg, 75, decided to plead guilty to 15 tax offenses and to testify against the Trump Organization, where he had worked since the mid-1980s, he was guaranteed a brief term in August.
His testimony assisted in the tax fraud conviction of the former president’s business, where he had been the chief financial officer. However, after hearing Weisselberg’s trial testimony, Judge Juan Manuel Merchan expressed disappointment that the sentence wasn’t more severe when he handed down the verdict on Tuesday.
He claimed that the testimony showing that Weisselberg provided his wife a $6,000 cheque for a no-show job for her to be eligible for Social Security benefits disgusted him. Merchan declared, “I would be imposing a punishment considerably greater than that” if he hadn’t already committed to giving Weisselberg a five-month sentence.
After hearing the evidence, he continued, “I’m not going to stray from the pledge, albeit I believe a stricter penalty is merited. Weisselberg was handcuffed and carried away by court personnel shortly after the punishment was pronounced.
He had come to court dressed for jail rather than in his regular suit. He was brought to the Rikers Island compound in New York City, where it was anticipated that he would be placed in an infirmary section. If he performs well while inside, he will be eligible for release in less than three months.
With his dismissal from the Trump Organization in the fall, Weisselberg earned $1.14 million in pay and incentives while testifying against the organization. Weisselberg’s sentencing also signaled the end of his career there.
According to his attorney Nicholas Gravante, the executive and the business “had amicably parted ways” as of Tuesday. Weisselberg agreed to pay roughly $2 million in back taxes, fines, and interest as part of the plea deal, and according to the prosecution, he has already done so.
Merchan said that he chose a five-month prison term instead of the six-month recommendation made by the trial, partly because of mitigating circumstances like Weisselberg’s military experience and previous employment as a public school teacher.
Merchan also mandated that Weisselberg serve a five-year probationary period following his release from prison. Given Weisselberg’s age and “far from perfect condition,” Gravante had pleaded with the court for a sentence that was even less than the one stipulated in the plea agreement.
He has already suffered a great deal from the shame he has brought not only upon himself but also onto his wife, his sons, and his grandchildren, according to Gravante. Suppose Weisselberg had broken his word or had lied in his testimony during the Trump Organization’s trial.
In that case, he could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, which is the maximum penalty for the most severe grand larceny allegation. In the three-year investigation of Trump and his financial operations by the Manhattan district attorney, Weisselberg is the only one to have been prosecuted.
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) January 10, 2023
Weisselberg provided three days of testimony, providing insight into Trump’s real estate business operations. Weisselberg began working for the Trump family in 1973 as an accountant for his developer father, Fred Trump. In 1986, he joined Donald Trump and helped turn the business into a well-known hotel and golf brand on a global scale.
In December, a Manhattan jury found the Trump Organization guilty, concluding that Weisselberg had been entrusted with acting on behalf of the corporation and its many businesses as a “high management” agent.
Weisselberg’s agreement saved the company money because it didn’t have to pay him more to cover the expense of the benefits while lowering his income taxes. The Trump Organization will be given a sentence on Friday and might be subject to a punishment of $1.6 million.
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