Allen Weisselberg is the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization. He has been under criminal investigation by authorities in New York State for some time now and there has been a great deal of speculation as to whether or not Allen Weisselberg could turn and testify against Donald Trump himself. Now the New York Times has reported that the Manhattan district attorney’s office may soon charge Mr. Weisselberg over tax fraud.
Observers see this as a classic example of divide and conquer. Prosecutors build a case against lower level officials in a corrupt organization, or lower level people associated with the “Big Fish” who they want to reel in. Once they have enough evidence to get an indictment against the person under scrutiny then the prosecutors try and het that person to flip – to agree to testify and provide information against their real target in exchange for leniency or even immunity.
But so far Allen Weisselberg has shown no indication that he plans to do anything of the sort and he continues to work for the trump Organization.
A grand jury has been hearing evidence about Mr. Weisselberg and the Times reports that prosecutors have acquired Mr. Weisselberg’s personal tax returns. Allen Weisselberg is suspected of failing to record as income many personal gifts given to him over the years by the Trump businesses in lieu of salary. Under the law such gifts are taxable income and failure to report them could be called felony tax evasion.
One example of a “fringe benefit” granted to Allen Weisselberg are the Mercedes-Benz cars leased for Mr. Weisselberg, his wife and other Trump Organization employees over the course of more than a decade.
New York prosecutors, however, are really interested in nailing Trump for a number of more serious crimes which they suspect happened. One is that the Trump Organization may have inflated the value of some of its signature properties to obtain the best possible loans. At the same time Donald trump, allegedly, listed lower values on the same properties to reduce the property taxes owed.
Former First Daughter Ivanka Trump may also be in trouble herself. The New York prosecutors suspect tax fraud involving consulting fees paid to Ivanka by the Trump Organization before Mr. Trump became President. These fees are suspected of being part of an attempt to funnel money to relatives and associates of President Trump’s while illegally using them as tax write-offs by declaring the fees business expenses.