Trump Organization Under Criminal Investigation in NY – Will Donald Trump’s Accountants Flip?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (10786888k)United States President Donald Trump delivers remarks in honor of Bay of Pigs Veterans and on new Cuba restrictions at the White House in Washington on September 23, 2020.
Shutterstock / Shutterstock

Last night on MSNBC, Bloomberg reporter Tim O’Brien speculated that the lead accountant on the Trump Organization’s taxes may turn state’s evidence. Allen Weisselberg is the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, and his working papers were among the documents received by the New York District Attorney’s office on Monday.

See: NY District Attorney Receives Trump’s Tax Records – and There Are ‘Millions of Pages’
Find: Economy Explained – Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion Penalties

In past financial fraud and insider trading scandals, those who fared the best tended to be those who copped pleas. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act toughened penalties for those found guilty to include criminal penalties, and it covers private companies as well as public ones. “I was just following the boss’s orders” is not an acceptable defense in a criminal trial. Weisselberg, Trump and his children who work in the business could have liability if the courts rule that criminal activity took place. If Trump were to be found guilty of criminal activities, the penalties would include a prohibition on running for national office again.

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Mazers, the French accounting firm that handles the Trump Organization’s audits, may have the same liability, depending on the information that they received when they performed the audits.

See: 23 Celebrities Convicted of Tax Evasion
Find: IRS Red Flags – I’m Being Audited and It’s My Accountant’s Fault

O’Brien noted that the records that were subpoenaed cover the time immediately before Donald Trump ran for president. The information in his taxes may shed light on his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and rumored financial support from various oligarchs. O’Brien would have liked to have seen more years of documents included in the subpoena.

Normally, the statute of limitations for the IRS to find problems in tax returns is three years. There is no statute of limitations for fraud. The current investigation is being conducted by the State of New York, but it could uncover far-reaching issues with far-reaching consequences.

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About the Author

Ann Logue is a writer specializing in business and finance. Her most recent book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide: Options Trading (Alpha 2016). She lives in Chicago.

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