The Trump Organization, the namesake enterprise founded by former President Donald Trump, and its chief financial officer are expected to be charged as soon as Thursday with tax-related offenses as part of a long-running inquiry headed by the Manhattan district attorney and New York’s attorney general into the operations of the family real estate business, a person familiar with the matter told USA TODAY.
Allen Weisselberg, the company’s CFO, is expected to face charges for allegedly failing to pay taxes on fringe benefits from the company, including school tuition.
Weisselberg’s attorney declined comment.
The timing and nature of the charges were first reported earlier Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal.
The district attorney’s office declined comment Wednesday on the targets and timing of the legal action.
The charges would come just days after Trump attorneys met with local prosecutors in a failed attempt to persuade prosecutors not to proceed with their case, lawyer Ron Fischetti said.
Fischetti told USA TODAY last week that prosecutors had not succeeded in securing the cooperation of Weisselberg, and that he expected charges to be filed against the company and possibly Weisselberg, as soon as this week.
For more than two years, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been digging deep into the operations of the Trump family business for possible fraud involving banks, insurance companies and taxing entities. Last month, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that a parallel civil inquiry had escalated to a criminal probe and that state authorities had joined Vance’s investigation.
The New York prosecutor won a major public victory in February when Trump’s accounting firm was forced to turn over eight years of tax records as part of a protracted legal battle that ended at the Supreme Court.
Vance’s investigation appeared to have accelerated last month with the disclosure that a special grand jury had been convened to consider possible evidence of criminality by the president, his business associates or the company itself.
The district attorney has been examining the far-flung Trump Organization’s banking, tax and insurance transactions with a focus on whether the company manipulated property values to obtain favorable loans and reduced tax rates.
Prosecutors also have been weighing hush-money payments made to women on Trump’s behalf and how that money was documented.
Former Trump personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen has acknowledged meeting with New York prosecutors multiple times in cooperation with their investigation.
Cohen has told USA TODAY that he would not comment on any aspect of the case, citing the ongoing investigation and his potential role in it as a key witness for the prosecution. But he has commented extensively on Twitter on how grand jury proceedings significantly accelerate the investigation.
Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges that included campaign-finance violations for paying hush money to women who claimed to have had sex with Trump and for lying to Congress, has repeatedly pointed to Weisselberg as most knowledgeable of the former president’s business operations.