Allen Weisselberg (C), former chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, testified Thursday that Donald Trump and sons Eric and Donald Jr. had roles in an alleged 15-year company tax fraud scheme. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg testified Thursday that Donald Trump, or sometimes sons Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr., had roles in the company's alleged tax fraud scheme.
Weisselberg testified the Trumps signed checks to pay up to $100,000 for private school tuition for Weisselberg's grandchildren. Weisselberg said he then deducted the money from his salary, giving him a lowered tax liability. Copies of some of the signed checks were submitted as evidence.
The Trump Organization and Weisselberg face 15 counts of tax fraud crimes filed by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. Weisselberg is cooperating with prosecutors, testifying against the company under a plea deal.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 charges in August.
He testified that the illegal tax practices were cleaned up when Donald Trump became president.
"Mr. Trump became president, and everybody was looking at our company from every different angle you could think of," Weisselberg testified, adding that the company wanted to "make sure that we correct everything that we have to correct."
Weisselberg said in court that he and other Trump executives knew the tax practices were illegal. They included paying lavish perks for executives in such a way that they avoided paying taxes while also saving the Trump organization money.
Donald Trump, who announced Tuesday he will run for president again in 2024, is not charged in this criminal case. But New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a separate $250 million lawsuit accusing the Trump Organization of massive fraud through over-valuation of company assets.
That suit seeks to recover $250 million and to bar Trump and his children, Eric, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., from doing any commercial real estate transactions or applying for loans in New York for five years.