Former United States President Donald Trump’s namesake real estate company was sentenced to pay a $1.61 million criminal penalty charge by a New York judge on Friday after the company was convicted of scheming to defraud tax authorities for 15 years, reported Reuters.
Manhattan criminal court judge, justice Juan Merchan imposed the sentence, the maximum possible under the state law, after jurors found two Trump Organisation affiliates guilty of 17 criminal charges last month.
Company’s chief financial officer and Trump family’s aide for a half-century, Allen Weisselberg, was sentenced to five months in prison after he testified as the prosecution’s star witness, the report added. No one else was charged.
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One of the defence lawyers, Susan Necheles, said that the company plans to appeal while Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office brought the case, 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,” Bragg told reporters. “We now will go on to the next chapter.”
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.
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Trump faces another $250 million lawsuit by state Attorney General Letitia James accusing the former President and his children, Donald Jr, Ivanka, and Eric of inflating his net worth and his company’s asset values to save on loans and insurance.
Experts, however, said that the sentence will not affect companies from committing such crimes.
Bill Black, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law specialising in white-collar crime, called the penalty a “rounding error” that offers “zero” deterrence.
“This is a farce,” he said. “No one will stop committing these kinds of crimes because of this sentence.”