Allen Weisselberg, 75, was sentenced to five months in jail for tax fraud charges on Tuesday, January 10. The former Trump Organization CFO will serve the time in Riker’s for the scheme, per The New York Times. Weisselberg had accepted a plea deal after initially pleading “not guilty,” when he was indicted in July 2021, per The Times. His deal required him to plead guilty to scheming to defraud, tax fraud, grand larceny, and conspiracy. The Trump Organization is also facing 17 charges of tax fraud and other financial crimes, which could see them fined for over $1 million.
In the leadup to Weisselberg being charged, it was believed that the district attorney’s office was seeking to gather more information from the former CFO about former President Donald Trump’s business dealings, per The Times. Here are five things to know about Weisselberg and his charges.
Weisselberg Worked For The Trump Family for Decades
Weisselberg has been loyal to Trump for nearly 50 years. He began his career as an accountant for the former president’s dad Fred Trump’s company in 1973. Working his way up through the organization for years, Weisselberg was named CFO of Trump Hotel & Casino Resorts in 2000. Trump raved about Weisselberg in his 2004 book How To Get Rich. “Allen has been with me for 30 years and knows how to get things done,” Trump wrote.
The charges being brought against Weisselberg stem from fringe benefits that Trump provided the CFO. Prosecutors have been investigating whether or not Weisselberg paid taxes on things like private school tuition, leased cars or apartments that Trump had given to him and his family as benefits, according to The New York Times. The charges appear to be more of an attempt to gain insight into Trump’s business dealings with Weisselberg’s help.
Weisselberg’s Ex-Daughter-In-Law Played A Big Part In The Investigation
When the federal investigation into Michael Cohen‘s allegations that the Trump Organization had paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $35,000 of hush money ended, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. turned a state-level investigation to Weisselberg. Weisselberg’s two sons, Barry and Jack, have both had professional connections to the Trump Organization. Barry was a manager for the Central Park carrousel and Wollman ice skating rink, which the Trump Organization ran, and Jack was employed at Ladder Capital, a lender for the Trump Organization. Barry’s ex-wife Jennifer told investigators that Trump had allegedly given the couple an apartment, which Barry claimed was “corporate property,” according to The New Yorker. The apartment can be used against Weisselberg if he failed to report it on his taxes.
Jennifer told The New Yorker that the fringe benefits are a business strategy. “They pay you with apartments and other stuff, as a control tactic, so you can’t leave. They own you! You have to do whatever corrupt crap they ask,” she said. Cohen also told The New Yorker that he thinks Weisselberg would cooperate in an investigation to keep his sons and himself out of prison.
Weisselberg Has Been Caught Up In Other Trump Troubles
The fringe benefits charges aren’t the first time that Weisselberg has been roped into investigations regarding Trump’s shady business dealings. The CFO was deposed during a 2018 New York civil suit filed against the Trump Foundation for “illegal conduct.” Weisselberg was listed as the treasurer and a board member for the Trump Foundation. When asked, he said he “did not” know that he’d been listed as a board member for the charity for over ten years, according to The Washington Post.
Weisselberg was also named in a lawsuit filed against Trump University. Court documents reveal that Weisselberg was one of the signatories on checks for the phony university, alongside Trump and three of the former president’s children.
Weisselberg Was Trump’s Go-To Person To Handle His Money
It should come as no surprise that Trump trusts his CFO with his money. Weisselberg was a co-trustee listed on the former president’s trust before he was inaugurated in 2017 alongside his son, Donald Trump Jr. A leaked recording of a call between Michael Cohen and Trump also indicated that Weisselberg has handled “personal finances” for Trump, including “household bills,” via The Washington Post.
After investigations into hush money paid by the Trump Organization were launched, the company’s attorney, Alan Futerfas, denied that Cohen would discuss payments with Weisselberg prior to Trump. “Mr. Weisselberg is a bookkeeper who simply carries out directions from others about monetary payments and transfers. There would be no reason for Mr. Cohen to have any conversation with Mr. Weisselberg prior to him recommending and obtaining approval for the purchase he was suggesting,” he told The Washington Post.
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