Prosecutors in New York unsealed a 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corporation, and its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg. The 25-page indictment accuses the company of a multi-year tax evasion scheme that dates back to 2005.
Prosecutors accused Weisselberg and other senior executives of evading taxes by paying employees "off the books" and providing them with benefits they never reported to the tax authorities.
Some of those payments included Weisselberg's rent, utilities, and garage expenses. They also included $359,058 in tuition payments to Columbia Grammar school for Weisselberg's grandchildren. Those checks were signed by former President Donald Trump and the Donald J. Trump revocable trust.
The company did not withhold taxes on the payments and reduced Weisselberg's salary by the same amount, allowing him to pay less money in taxes. While Weisselberg reported his base salary when paying his taxes, he did not report the extra benefits he received. Prosecutors said that those payments totaled $1.7 million between 2005 and 2017.
"We allege, among other things, financial wrongdoing whereby the Trump Organization engaged in a scheme with Mr. Weisselberg to avoid paying taxes on certain compensation," 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."
Weisselberg was also accused of failing to disclose that he lived in New York City to avoid paying city income tax. Prosecutors said that he lived in New York City starting in 2005 but did not claim residency on his taxes until 2013.
Weisselberg pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance but had to surrender his passport to investigators.
The Trump Organization issued a statement defending Wiesselberg.
"He is now being used by the Manhattan District Attorney as a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former President," a spokesperson for the company said. "The District Attorney is bringing a criminal prosecution involving employee benefits that neither the IRS nor any other District Attorney would ever think of bringing. This is not justice; this is politics."