By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – Former US President Donald Trump's organization and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg were charged on Thursday with a decades-spanning tax evasion scheme.
The 15-count indictment said Weisselberg and the organization "operated a scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities" since at least 2005 through 2021 to provide executives with "off the books" compensation, with prosecutors alleging Weisselberg avoided taxes on benefits estimated to be worth $1.76 million.
That included rent, utility and garage payments for Weisselberg's upscale midtown apartment in New York City, as well as tuition payments for family members to attend a private school in Manhattan and lease payments for Mercedes-Benz cars for Weisselberg and his wife.
He and lawyers representing the organization have pleaded not guilty.
Weisselberg, the Trump organization and its related companies, are charged with conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. Weisselberg is also charged with grand larceny.
"Today is an important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. "This investigation will continue, and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead."
Trump lashed out at the case, denying the charges and saying in a statement it is "politically motivated."