Trump Organization and its CFO charged with tax crimes

By Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Maureen Chowdhury, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 7:39 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021
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5:53 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Prosecutors handed electronic storage devices over to defense lawyers

From CNN’s Kara Scannell

Prosecutors handed electronic storage devices over to defense lawyers — one to attorneys for the Trump Organization and the other to a lawyer for chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg.

Weisselberg’s passport was turned over in person

5:54 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Weisselberg released on his own recognizance and told to turn in his passport

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe

Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization CFO, leaves Manhattan Criminal Court after his arraignment in State Supreme Court on July 01.
Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization CFO, leaves Manhattan Criminal Court after his arraignment in State Supreme Court on July 01. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg was released on his own recognizance and told to turn in his passport.

After the hearing, he walked out of the courthouse and into a waiting SUV.

Earlier today: The indictment, which has just been unsealed, charges the Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corp. and Weisselberg with 15 felony counts in connection with an alleged scheme stretching back to 2005 “to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization in a manner that was ‘off the books.’”

The three are charged with a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records. 

Weisselberg is also charged with grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

3:08 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Prosecutors: Trump Org CFO evaded taxes on $1.7 million on income

From CNN's Erica Orden and Kara Scannell

New York prosecutors on Thursday charged the Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corporation and its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg with 15 felony counts in connection with an alleged tax scheme stretching back to 2005, in an extraordinary legal development against the former President's namesake company.

Prosecutors in court said the counts include a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, offering a false instrument for filing and falsifying business records.

The indictment also alleges Weisselberg evaded $1.76 million in taxes over the period beginning in 2005 and that he concealed for years that he was a resident of New York City, thereby avoiding paying city income taxes.

Weisselberg pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors say they have digital drives with grand jury testimony, bookkeeping records, tax records, statements of potential witnesses.

Weisselberg attempted to conceal his participation in the scheme with the knowledge of the company, prosecutors said.

Read more about today's charges here.

3:10 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

New York attorney general says the "investigation will continue"

Letitia James, Attorney General of New York, center, and Cyrus Vance Jr., New York County District Attorney, right, leave Manhattan criminal court, Thursday, July 1, in New York.
Letitia James, Attorney General of New York, center, and Cyrus Vance Jr., New York County District Attorney, right, leave Manhattan criminal court, Thursday, July 1, in New York. John Minchillo/AP

New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a statement Thursday calling the indictment against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg an, “important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation.”

Her statement reads:

“Today is an important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg. In the indictment, 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. This investigation will continue, and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead.”   

The statement says "The charges relate to the alleged failure by Weisselberg to pay New York state and federal income taxes on approximately $1.7 million in compensation. This is part of an ongoing criminal investigation conducted by Attorney General James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr."

2:57 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Read the full indictment charges against the Trump Organization and its CFO

The Manhattan district attorney’s office unsealed charges Thursday against the Trump Organization, its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, and the Trump Payroll Corporation – marking the first criminal case against former President Trump’s company.

Prosecutors in court described a 15-year tax scheme and said the charges include 15 felony counts, including a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records. 

Read the full indictment here:

2:56 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Indictment against Trump Org, Allen Weisselberg and Trump Payroll Corp. unsealed

From CNN’s Erica Orden

The indictment, which has just been unsealed, charges the Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corp. and Allen Weisselberg with 15 felony counts in connection with an alleged scheme stretching back to 2005 “to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization in a manner that was ‘off the books.’”

The three are charged with a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records. Weisselberg is also charged with grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

“The scheme was intended to allow certain employees to substantially understate their compensation from the Trump Organization, so that they could and did pay federal, state and local taxes in amounts that were significantly less than the amounts that should have been paid,” according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges Weisselberg evaded $1.76 million in taxes over the period beginning in 2005 and that he concealed for years that he was a resident of New York City, thereby avoiding paying city income taxes.

Read the documents here:

 

3:09 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Trump Organization lawyer: "Political forces driving today's event"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas called the charges brought against the organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg, an "improper precedent" that is driven by "political forces."

Futerfas said the charges will be "vigorously contested."

"They're going to be vigorously contested by people who are experts in the field and know this law very, very well, " he said.

"If the name of the company was something else, I don't think these charges would have been brought. In fact, I am fairly certain they would not have been brought if the name was a different name," Futerfas said.

More on the charges: The indictment charges the Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corp. and Weisselberg. Prosecutors in court described a 15-year tax scheme and said the charges include 15 felony counts, including a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records. 

Watch here:

2:46 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Trump Org and chief financial officer plead not guilty to charges

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corporation also pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said that Weisselberg attempted to conceal his participation in the scheme with the knowledge of the company. 

"Even now there’s been no attempt to impose discipline on members of the company," Manhattan prosecutor Carey Dunne said. "There is no clearer example of a company that should be held (responsible). "Prosecutors asked for Weisselberg's passport to be taken, believe he is a flight risk, saying he has been and will remain CFO of this international company. There is "ample record of travel by private jet, ample means to support himself out of our jurisdiction."

More on the charges: The indictment charges the Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corporation and Weisselberg. Prosecutors in court described a 15-year tax scheme and said the charges include 15 felony counts, including a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records. 

5:58 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Prosecutors allege 15-year tax scheme, charges include 15 felony counts against Trump Org

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe and Erica Orden

The indictment charges the Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corporation the company's chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg.

Prosecutors in court described a 15-year tax scheme and said the charges include 15 felony counts, including a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records. 

Prosecutors allege Weisselberg evaded taxes on $1.7 million of income.

Prosecutors say they have digital drives with grand jury testimony, bookkeeping records, tax records, statements of potential witnesses.

Watch here: