Categories
Business Crime Donald Trump

Judge In Tax Fraud Case Appoints ‘Independent Monitor’ To Oversee Trump’s Finances

A New York judge ruled Thursday that an “independent monitor” will be appointed by the court to oversee the finances of former president Donald Trump and the Trump Organization during the tax fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

According to Josh Gerstein of Politico, the ruling is a big loss for the failed former president and his company, which is already facing financial uncertainty and multiple investigations.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron issued an order after a daylong hearing, requiring that the Trump Organization’s dealings with banks and sale of major assets be subject to supervision by a third party expert to be named by the court.

One provision in the order requires 14 days notice to the court before Trump can dispose of any “non-cash asset” listed in a financial statement his firm prepared last year.

The judge’s order came over strenuous objections from Trump’s lawyers in Manhattan earlier Thursday, where Trump’s team pleaded with Engoron to reject Attorney General Tish James’ bid to impose potentially far-reaching supervision of Trump’s business empire as litigation proceeds over her claims that the firms engaged in vast bank and insurance fraud in real estate transactions.

After Judge Engoron issued the ruling, James praised the decision:

“Time and time again, the courts have ruled that Donald Trump cannot evade the law for personal gain,” she said in a statement. “Today’s decision will ensure that Donald Trump and his companies cannot continue the extensive fraud that we uncovered and will require the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance at the Trump Organization.”

The judge also noted that while he believes the government has to meet a “heavy burden” to warrant the appointment of a financial monitor, all he has heard so far in the way of a defense from Trump’s attorneys is “little more than hot air.”

“Let’s be real here …They submitted all these documents,” the judge said to a lawyer for Trump, Christopher Kise. “What kind of evidence do you want? This is a motion for preliminary injunction.”

Kise suggested that such a move would be tantamount to placing the Trump Organization into receivership, arguing “It’s really more in the nature of seizing control of a successful corporation and interfering on a day-to-day basis with its financial arrangements.”

But Judge Engoron dismissed Kise’s argument by remarking:

“Your papers kept using the word receiver. … They’re not asking for one and that’s very different from a monitor. True or false?”

Kise also accused AG James of trying to make headlines in the midst of a midterm election, which will be held next Tuesday.

“We’re a few days out from an election. I’m hoping that’s not behind the motivation and the timing here, but I’m candidly a little bit cynical about it. … I hesitated to bring it up, but this really shouldn’t be about political theater.”

What Kise failed to add, however, is that Trump isn’t on the the ballot in any of the 50 states and is subject to the same laws as every other American.

Categories
Crime Donald Trump The Trump Organization

Senior Trump Org. Employee Cooperating With Prosecutors In Tax Fraud Investigation: Report

By now, disgraced former president Donald Trump probably thought his legal problems couldn’t possibly get any worse. After all, he’s facing criminal investigations and possible indictment in multiple states (i.e. Georgia and New York) and may also be prosecuted on federal charges for his role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Oh, and there’s also the hoarding of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

And now Bloomberg reports that a former senior executive for the Trump Organization is cooperating with prosecutors as they investigate the ex-president and his company for tax fraud.

One of Donald Trump’s most loyal deputies is expected to testify against the Trump Organization, in a trial that threatens to reveal the inner workings of the real estate empire that set the former president on his path to the White House.

Allen Weisselberg, who was the company’s accounting chief for decades, is almost certain to be called to the witness stand by New York prosecutors in the trial, which starts with jury selection Monday in Manhattan. The government claims the company routinely low-balled its tax exposure by paying senior executives with perks like company cars and rent-free apartments.

Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at the University of Michigan Law School, says the case against Weisselberg is groundbreaking:

“The world is about to see just how the Trump Organization ran its business. This is a significant case. The criminal charges are against Trump’s corporation, which is a small private company, but Donald Trump is the Trump Organization.”

Weisselberg was showered with perks and non-taxed benefits during his time with the Trump Organization. Those included “utilities and garage expenses, a Mercedes-Benz, tuition payments to a private school for his grandchildren, unreported cash and various personal expenses for his homes and his son’s apartment, including flat-screen televisions, new beds, carpeting and furniture.”

All of those extras were supposed to be taxed the same as income. But they weren’t, and that constitutes tax fraud.

Financial experts say a conviction in the tax case against Trump and Trump Org. would be significant.

Daniel Horwitz, a former prosecutor at the Manhattan DA’s office, notes:

“A conviction in a criminal case is serious. Is it definitive that a company convicted of a crime will be shunned by lenders and creditors? Not necessarily. Is it a good thing if the Trump Organization is convicted of cheating the government of millions of dollars in taxes over the years? No, it’s not good.”

 

Categories
Crime Donald Trump The Trump Organization

New York AG Tish James Catches Trump Trying To Hide His Assets And Claps Back In Court

New York Attorney General Letitia James just caught failed, one-term, twice-impeached former president Donald Trump trying to shift and potentially hide his assets as she pursues a civil case against him and his company, the Trump Organization.

CNBC reports that James went to court to keep the ex-president from moving assets to a holding company he recently created.

The New York Attorney General’s Office on Thursday asked a judge to bar former President Donald Trump from moving his businesses to a new holding company he formed amid a pending civil lawsuit accusing him, three of his children, and the Trump Organization of widespread fraud.

That request is spurred by concerns that the AG’s office would have difficulty getting Trump to pay a fine, if he loses the suit, as a result of his assets being held by a company that is not named as a defendant in the case.

On Sept. 21, the same day that Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump and the other defendants, her office saw that the Trump Organization had registered with New York’s secretary of state a new company, called “Trump Organization II LLC.” That new firm is incorporated in Delaware.

James made her filing in Manhattan Supreme Court, writing:

“Beyond just the continuation of its prior fraud, the Trump Organization now appears to be taking steps to restructure its business to avoid existing responsibilities under New York law.”

James also asked Judge Arthur Engoron to order Trump and his company not to use “a new statement of his business’ financial conditions in dealings with lenders and insurers.” Her concern is that he will once again use fake valuations in order to avoid having to pay fines and penalties if found guilty at trial.

“There is every reason to believe that the Defendants will continue to engage in similar fraudulent conduct right up to trial unless checked by order of this Court.”

Some have suggested that the civil case against Trump could result in his company being liquidated and its assets sold in order to pay the massive penalties that may be imposed by the court.

 

Categories
Crime Donald Trump The Trump Organization

Trump May Have To Dump His Properties At ‘Fire Sale’ Prices If He Loses NY Fraud Suit

Now that he’s facing massive financial penalties as the result of the civil lawsuit filed against him this week by New York Attorney General Letitia James, failed, one-term, twice-impeached former president Donald Trump is facing massive financial penalties for inflating the value of his properties.

Trump, who is known to be cash-poor, will likely have to start selling some of his skyscrapers, according to Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer and senior executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion.

O’Brien was a guest on MSNBC Sunday, and was asked by host Alex Witt:

“You say that James’ suit won’t land the Trumps in prison, only criminal convictions could do that. It seeks to bar the Trumps from running a business in New York state and might unravel the Trump organization. You just heard [former Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen say it could actually wipe Trump out. Is that the way you see it?”

O’Brien replied:

“Well, I think it depends on the extent of damage that the case inflicts and her prosecution inflicts on the Trump family and their businesses. Michael is completely right that he has never had a lot of cash on hand, he’s almost a debt addict, he has always heavily mortgaged the properties he owns.”

He continued:

“Most of his wealth is tied up in a handful of skyscrapers in New York City. Tish James is seeking to bar him from doing business in the state of New York, so he’ll have to unload those if he gets convicted. And that is a fire sale, which means everyone who’s a buyer will know they won’t have to pay top dollar because he needs to get out of the property.”

The Trump biographer concluded that the civil suit is an existential threat to the ex-president:

“She has made to two criminal referrals out of this case, one to the IRS and one to the US Attorneys’ office in the Southern District [of New York]. So that is now hanging over his head. I think the family’s legacy is in New York, everything that Donald Trump stands on was built by Trump in New York. Trump has put those holdings in peril twice, the first time in the early 90’s when he gorged on debt and couldn’t repay the banks and again now when he has gotten on the wrong side of the law.

“I think this is an existential threat to his business and his financial well-being.”

Categories
Crime Donald Trump The Trump Organization

Trump’s Financial Penalty For Inflating His Net Worth Could Reach $1 Billion: Report

In addition to possibly watching as New York Attorney General Letitia James shuts down the Trump Organization, failed, one-term former president Donald Trump is also facing the prospect of having to pay up to $1 billion in financial penalties to the state for inflating the value of his business.

That’s the opinion of Trump’s former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, who floated the $1 billion figure during an appearance on MSNBC Thursday.

Speaking with host Ari Melber, Cohen remarked:

“I think Tish James is fantastic. I think she is an incredible attorney general, and an attorney general that I wish every single state in this country had. I actually wish [Manhattan DA] Alvin Bragg had been a little more Tish James. Though I’m going give Alvin a little bit of leeway as we now in October have the case against the Trump Organization … you cannot separate the Trump Organization from Donald.”

The led Melber to ask:

“Knowing him well, where do you think his head and emotions are at today, when he sees the prospect that he could really be booted from New York business, not him or his kids able to run any business here?”

Cohen replied:

“One of the things you talked about at the beginning, she’s seeking $250 million. That’s not accurate. What she said was the baseline of $250 million. Knowing the documents the way I do and knowing exactly the fraud that was going on, I see the number between $750 million and $1 billion.”

Imagine it: Trump is forbidden from ever doing business in the state of New York, the Trump Organization is permanently shuttered, and on top of that, the Donald has to pay $1 billion in penalties to the Empire State. He doesn’t have $1 billion, and no one is going to loan him a sum that large. He’d be forced to declare bankruptcy and liquidate all his assets.

Sounds about right considering all the harm Trump has done to this country.