Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty

Allen Weisselberg, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Trump Organisation, has recently pleaded guilty to tax evasion and fraud and is expected to be sentenced to five months at the notorious Rikers Island prison. He must also pay back the £1.4 million ($1.7 million) he had been charged with concealing in ‘off-the-books’ income.

According to prosecutors, the 75-year-old, who had worked for the Trump family for 50 years, failed to pay taxes on income over a 15-year period by charging the Trump Organization for personal expenses, including luxury cars, an Upper West Side apartment and private school tuition for his grandchildren. These payments were not recorded officially but were uncovered during a forensic investigation on spreadsheets hidden at the company.

The investigation began in May 2021 after former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr went after the CFO in an effort to get him to ‘flip’ on former President Trump. Although this did not happen, as part of his plea deal Mr Weisselberg must now testify against the Trump Organization at a criminal trial later this year – the business is also a defendant in this case.

Mr Weisselberg’s guilty plea could well strengthen the case against the Trump Organization, particularly in the wake of other investigations into the former President’s business deals. In addition, according to Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, whose office brought the charges, the plea agreement “directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity…”

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, explains: “The reference to a hidden spreadsheet in this case is telling.  It is surprising how often those engaged in fraud maintain secret records, that presumably they hope will never see the light of day, in which they set out precisely how the proceeds of their crimes have been generated and, importantly, shared between the perpetrators.

“Discovering this type of documentation is often akin to finding a smoking gun.  In one case on which I worked many years ago the fraudster had even helpfully written the words “Black Book” on the first page of a journal in which he had recorded his illicit trading activities and, to emphasise the point, he had underlined the words neatly in red ink…  twice.”

Source(s): BBC News

Posted in The Forensic Blog.