After being found guilty of 15 years of conspiring to defraud tax authorities, a New York judge slammed a fine of $1.6 million on an organisation owned by former US President Donald Trump.
Following last month’s conviction of two Trump Organisation affiliates on 17 criminal charges, Justice Juan Merchan of the Manhattan criminal court handed down the sentence, which was the maximum permitted by state law.
According to CNN, The Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp., two Trump entities, were found guilty of 17 felonies, including tax fraud and falsifying financial records, last month.
Under New York law, the most the companies can be fined is about $1.6 million, a penalty the Trump Organization can easily afford.
Merchan had on Tuesday sentenced Allen Weisselberg, who worked for Trump’s family for a half-century and was the company’s former chief financial officer, to five months in jail after he testified as the prosecution’s star witness, according to Reuters.
The news platform quoted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office brought the case, as saying that the office is still conducting a criminal probe into Trump’s business practices.
“The sentencing today, along with the sentencing earlier this week, closes this important chapter of our ongoing investigation into the former president and his businesses. We now will go on to the next chapter,” Bragg told reporters.
He added that “It’s important regardless of who the defendant is, because it’s cheating and greed and cheating the taxpayers.
“It obviously becomes more consequential given that it involved the former president’s corporation and CFO. It sends a message – I hope it sends a message to New Yorkers that you know we’re one system of justice and that this kind of conduct, regardless of who you are, won’t be countenanced in Manhattan.”
Joshua Steinglass, one of the prosecutors, appeared to lament the size of the punishment, telling Merchan the penalty was only a “tiny portion” of the Trump Organization’s revenue.