Allen Weisselberg And Trump Org Are Pretty Dumb Criminals, ALLEGEDLY
HOO-RAH, they're here, some indictments of Trump people are here!
First of all, though, you get a perp walk.
There goes 73-year-old Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization CFO, handcuffed, on his way into court on Thursday in Manhattan. Watch it and think about America! (That perp walk reportedly made Donald Trump sooooo mad.)
OK, so the indictments. We're gonna cut the shit and just give you the facts you want. Got it? Cutting shit, giving facts.
No shit just facts
There are 15 counts, 10 of which name both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization. Five are just for Allen. They charged them with a 15-year "SCHEME TO DEFRAUD IN THE FIRST DEGREE" the US government and New York state and city authorities. They charged them with tax fraud. They charged Allen with grand larceny. They charged them with some other shit. The victims in this indictment are listed as the IRS, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and the New York City Department of Finance.
And the prosecutors seem pretty sure those fuckers knew exactly what they were doing.
Here's the gist, or as the indictment calls it:
The indictment says starting in 2005, "the defendants and others" created a SCHEME to defraud the local, state, and federal governments. "The purpose," it says, was to pay Weisselberg and others a good chunk of their income through "indirect and disguised means," AKA "off the books." It says the Trump Corporation and/or the Trump Payroll Corp. (subsidiaries named in the indictment) either didn't report or misreported said compensation. That way, "certain employees" got to pay taxes on far less than they actually made. It says Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp. thereby didn't withhold taxes on a lot of income, because of how that money was part of the SCHEME. They also allegedly skated on payroll taxes they were supposed to be paying.
And it names Weisselberg as "one of the largest individual beneficiaries" of the SCHEME, involving indirect compensation to the tune of about $1.76 million, which he allegedly hid. (Note it doesn't say he's the largest beneficiary.) What else did he allegedly hide? That he lived in New York City, and therefore should've been paying taxes there.
During the period of the scheme, Weisselberg thereby evaded approximately $556,385 in federal taxes, approximately $106,568 in state taxes, and approximately $238,159 in New York City taxes, and he falsely claimed and received approximately $94,902 in federal tax refunds and approximately $38,222 in state tax refunds, to which he was not entitled.
As for that New York City stuff, the indictment alleges that the Trump Corporation had a lease on a place on the west side of Manhattan, which has been Allen Weisselberg's primary place ever since 2005. But he didn't own it and the Trump Corporation didn't own it, so SHHHHHH. Weisselberg allegedly signed the checks from the Trump Corporation for the rent and the utilities and the internet and the Netflix 'n' Chill. This was all income for Weisselberg, his free apartment and his free Netflix 'n' Chill. Reported as compensation to Weisselberg? No way! It was just "rent expense."
This arrangement allegedly made it easier for Weisselberg to pretend he lived in Not New York City, to avoid city taxes. It says, "He was a New York City resident, and he knew that he was a New York City resident." (It'd be bad if he didn't even know where he lived!) It says he stopped pulling this shit in 2013, when he sold a house he had in Wantagh, New York.
The Trump Organization allegedly kept track of those receipts, though. Know how our headline gently suggests that these people are idiots?
[F]or certain years, the Trump Organization maintained internal spreadsheets that tracked the amounts it paid for Weisselberg's rent, utility, and garage expenses. Simultaneously, the Trump Organization reduced the amount of direct compensation that Weisselberg received in the form of checks or direct deposits to account for the indirect compensation that he received in the form of payments of rent, utility bills and garage expenses. The indirect compensation was not included on Weisselberg's W-2 forms or otherwise reported to federal, state, or local tax authorities, and no income taxes were withheld by the corporate defendants in connection with the indirect compensation.
The indictment goes to great pains to paint how Weisselberg, as the CFO, was not only orchestrating and directing the SCHEME, but also benefiting from it greatly. Just move these numbers here, move those numbers there, carry the two, et VOILA! Prétendument!
Then there are the parts about tuition, where Weisselberg and the Trump Corporation had tuition for Weisselberg kids paid from accounts in the names of Donald Trump and his revocable trust. And again, they didn't report it. It's totally normal for corporate compensation packages to have goodies in them, even including things like tuition and the like. (Eric Trump correctly noted this on Fox News last night.) They have to be declared as income. (Eric Trump forgot that part on Fox News last night!) But according to prosecutors, Weisselberg and other Trump Corporation people just, you know, didn't.
Leases on Mercedes-Benzes for Weisselberg and his wife? Check.
Cash money given to Weisselberg, from Trump Corporation checks made out to another "Trump Organization employee," which that person cashed and handed over to Weisselberg, after which the Trump Corporation recorded those expenses as "Holiday Entertainment"? Check. We don't know how entertaining Allen Weisselberg is around the holidays, but ...
Maybe he does a real sexxxy "Santa Baby" or something!
All the while, the Trump Corporation was allegedly keeping track of all this on its internal spreadsheets — the secret ones that said how much to quietly deduct from Allen's official paycheck — but not reporting any of it as Allen's income.
Sometimes Weisselberg would allegedly hit up the Trump Corporation for money for other shit:
"These requests included such items as new beds, flat-screen televisions, the installation of carpeting, and furniture for Weisselberg's home in Florida."
Don't want to get ahead of our skis here but it sounds like Donald Trump took Allen Weisselberg furniture-shopping.
After all the parts about how Weisselberg benefited personally, the indictment moves on to "The Failure To Report or To Withhold Income Taxes on Payments Made to Certain Other Executives and Employees." Which other executives and employees? This current indictment here does not say, aside from how one of them was a family member of Weisselberg's, and then there were two others. Folks got apartments and auto leases and the like, which weren't reported by the Trump business.
The indictment repeatedly says Weisselberg and the Trump Organization intentionally did these things. Which ... you know, one or two mistakes, we might believe, but it does seem like prosecutors are establishing a pattern here.
Did we mention there was hinky shit with bonuses, allegedly? There was hinky shit with bonuses, allegedly. And so much more.
As you can imagine, the SCHEME allegedly required a lot of falsifying documents, and the indictment explains how. (Journalist Kurt Eichenwald has a Twitter thread y'all should read about how this may be the biggest fuckin' deal of them all, not just for Weisselberg, but for the entire Trump Criminal Enterprise.)
Let's tally this shit up!
So in all, there's the SCHEME TO DEFRAUD IN THE FIRST DEGREE. Then there's:
- CONSPIRACY IN THE FOURTH DEGREE, which is the first time we hear about some character named "Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1." Shall be interesting to find out who that is! (Maddow noted last night that it's not likely that it's Trump, since they spell his name out a bunch of other times in the indictment.)
- GRAND LARCENY IN THE SECOND DEGREE. (This one is just for Allen.)
- CRIMINAL TAX FRAUD IN THE THIRD DEGREE. (Three counts!)
- CRIMINAL TAX FRAUD IN THE FOURTH DEGREE.
- OFFERING A FALSE INSTRUMENT FOR FILING IN THE FIRST DEGREE. (Four counts! These are the other indictments in the batch that only name Weisselberg, and not also all the Trump entities.)
- FALSIFYING BUSINESS RECORDS IN THE FIRST DEGREE. (Four counts!)
Let's say some final thoughts, and then end this post!
Guys? We got to read an indictment involving Trump people that came out after Donald Trump lost the protections of the presidency. We got to see a perp walk! Hallelujah!
And if we haven't said this already, we feel from reading this like there's more comin'. This is all about Weisselberg. This all reads very FLIP, MOTHERFUCKER, FLIP to us. This isn't anything about weird screwball valuations on Trump properties, it's not about Trump's porn peener payoffs. And it certainly ain't about Trump's taxes.
Here's what Carey Dunne from the DA's office said in court:
"To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme," Dunne said. He rejected an allegation from the Trump Organization that the charges were part of a politically motivated effort to hurt Trump: "It's not about politics," Dunne said.
And here's what Trump Org lawyer Alan Futerfas whined:
"We're all aware, all of you and all of us, are aware of the very significant financial crimes that have occurred by large financial institutions where this office did not take them on, did not prosecute, going back to the 2008 financial collapse of the United States," he said.
Yeah, we've talked about that, haven't we? How Trump is half-right when he whines that none of this would probably be happening if Trump hadn't waddled down that escalator and taken a wet shit on the world?
But he did. He opened himself up to that scrutiny from the second he announced his run, promised to release his financials, and then studiously refused to for the next five years of his presidential campaign and failed presidency.
Weisselberg is of course innocent until proven so guilty. Weisselberg pleaded not guilty. (So did the Trump Organization.) Weisselberg had to give the mean authorities his passport.
Guess we'll see what happens next.
[indictment / Washington Post]
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