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Trump's company sentenced to pay $1.61mn penalty for tax fraud

The Trump Organization was hit with $1.6 million in fines Friday when a New York judge sentenced it for running a 15-year tax fraud scheme that prosecutors said top executives at the company orchestrated out of pure greed.

Former US President Donald Trump's real estate company has been sentenced to pay a maximum $1.61 million criminal penalty after it was convicted of plotting to defraud tax authorities for 15 years.

Justice Juan Merchan of the Manhattan criminal court in New York on Friday imposed the sentence after jurors found two Trump Organization affiliates guilty of 17 criminal charges last month, Reuters reported.

On Tuesday, a longtime senior executive at Trump's family business was sentenced to five months in prison on charges of fraud and tax evasion.

Allen Weisselberg, a longtime friend of Trump, who has served as the CFO of the Trump Organization for about 40 years, was sentenced by Merchan.

Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty in August to 15 counts of tax fraud in a deal in which he agreed to testify at the criminal trial of his former employer's company, AFP reported.

Susan Necheles, one of the defense lawyers of Trump Organization, said the company plans to appeal. No one else was charged or faces jail time in the case.

New York district attorney Alvin Bragg's office brought the case. He is still conducting a criminal investigation into Trump's business practices.

"While corporations can't serve jail time, this consequential conviction and sentencing serves as a reminder to corporations and executives that you cannot defraud tax authorities and get away with it," Bragg said in a statement.

Weisselberg's testimony helped prosecutors gain the December 6 conviction of the Trump Organization and sister firm Trump Payroll Corp on 17 similar fraud and tax evasion charges.

The Trump Organization was found guilty on all nine counts, marking the first time it had ever been convicted of crimes.

Jurors agreed with prosecutors that the organization -- currently run by Trump's two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump -- ran a years-long scheme to defraud and evade taxes by falsifying business records, and hid compensation it paid to top executives between 2005 and 2021.

Weisselberg had already pleaded guilty to 15 counts of tax fraud, and admitted that he schemed with the company to receive undeclared benefits such as an apartment in a posh Manhattan neighborhood.

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