https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... story.html
NEW YORK — Prosecutors charged the Trump Organization with a 15-year "scheme to defraud" the government and its chief financial officer with grand larceny and tax fraud in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday, describing what they said was a wide-ranging effort to hide income from tax authorities. .
In charging papers, prosecutors alleged that Allen Weisselberg, former president Donald Trump's longtime CFO, had avoided more than $900,000 in taxes by concealing the value of benefits he got from Trump's company — including a free apartment, free Mercedes-Benz cars, new furniture and tuition payments for his relatives.
In internal records, the Trump Organization treated these benefits as part of Weisselberg's compensation, prosecutors said. But it did not report them to taxing authorities, allowing Weisselberg and the company to avoid taxes, the documents said.
The indictment said that other, unnamed Trump Organization executives were given similar benefits. It also said that Weisselberg had orchestrated the scheme along with "others" at the company but did not name any of the others. Weisselberg was the only executive charged on Thursday.
Weisselberg, who has worked for the Trump Organization since the 1970s, pleaded not guilty during a brief arraignment hearing that began about 2:20 p.m. He walked into the courtroom in a dark suit, surrounded by detectives and court officers. He did not respond to questions from reporters in the hallway outside.
"To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme," Dunne said. He rejected an allegation from the Trump Organization that the charges were part of a politically motivated effort to hurt Trump: "It's not about politics," Dunne said.
Although the indictments could pose trouble for the former president, exposing his company to potential fines and intensifying pressure on Weisselberg, neither the former president nor anyone else in his firm is expected to face charges this week. Prosecutors hope Weisselberg will offer testimony against Trump in exchange for lessening his own legal risk, according to a person familiar with the case.