Allen Weisselberg, a longtime executive for Donald Trump’s real estate empire, is set to be sentenced Tuesday for dodging taxes on $1.7 million in job perks. A plea agreement reached with the court promised Weisselberg a sentence of five months in jail and payment of nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties, and interest. Testifying against the Trump Organization he had worked for since the 1980s, Weisselberg admitted to perpetrating the scheme of falsifying payroll records and issuing falsified W-2 forms in order to save the company money and reduce his own personal tax burden.
Despite facing a potential 15-year jail sentence, the guilty plea allowed Weisselberg to avoid the maximum punishment and instead spend time behind bars in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex. Though he is expected to be released after three months for good behavior, Weisselberg has already started making significant progress to pay the penalties and interest. He will also remain under supervised probation for five years.
During the trial, Weisselberg testified that Donald Trump nor his family was aware of the scheme, however prosecutors argued that the evidence indicated Mr. Trump was explicitly “sanctioning tax fraud”. As a result of the conviction, the Trump Organization faces a fine of up to $1.6 million and judgement day is scheduled for Friday. While he is currently on a leave of absence, The Trump Organization continues to pay Weisselberg and even honored him with a birthday celebration shortly after he finalized the plea bargain.
The punishment for this tax fraud is a stark contrast to the life of luxury the Weisselberg once schemed to build. No longer living the Fifth Avenue office suite and river-view apartment, Weisselberg is soon set to spend time in the notorious jail complex at Rikers Island, 5 miles from the Trump Tower.