Former US President Donald Trump’s namesake family real estate firm was sentenced to the maximum allowable fine Friday in New York following its conviction on 17 counts, include a 13-year scheme to defraud.
The company will pay a fine of just over $1.6 million.
While a prosecutor, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass, conceded the amount is a fraction of the company’s earnings, he called the scheme it was convicted of “far-reaching and brazen.”
“The sheer magnitude of this fraud merits the largest financial sanction authorized by law,” Steinglass said. “The defendants cultivated a pervasive culture of fraud.”
Judge Juan Merchan imposed the maximum sentence and scolded the defence for continuing to blame the company’s accountant for the fraud.
“It’s not what the evidence has showed and it’s not what the jury found,” Merchan said.
He gave the company 14 days to pay.
The verdict, delivered Dec. 6, held the Trump Organization liable for the criminal conduct of some of its top executives, mainly Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer who was sent to jail on Rikers Island earlier this week for arranging nearly $2 million of his compensation off the books.
Trump himself was not charged and the company’s defence attorneys said he did not know about the scheme. However, his name came up dozens of times, mainly on defence examination of witnesses.
Defence attorney Michael van der Veen said in his closing statement that jurors “heard no evidence in this case that Mr. Trump or any of his children were aware of anything improper.”
Prosecutors said the former president sanctioned fraud. They showed the jury checks Trump signed and a memo he initiated.
“This whole narrative that Donald Trump is blissfully ignorant is just not true,” Steinglass said during his closing statement. (ABC)