A grand jury has charged the Trump Organization and its CFO with 15 federal charges, including tax fraud and grand larceny, according to an indictment that was unsealed Thursday.
Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, appeared in court in Manhattan Thursday and pleaded not guilty to all 15 charges.
In the indictment, prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization paid executives, including Weisselberg, "off the books" so those executives could avoid paying income tax.
Prosecutors say that the Trump Organization paid for rent at Weisselberg's apartment at Trump Place on Riverside Boulevard in New York. They also say the company paid for tuition expenses for two of his children. In addition, the indictment alleges that the company also paid for car leases for Weisselberg and his wife in addition to other unreported cash and ad hoc expenses.
In total, the prosecution claims Weisselberg has avoided paying $1.7 million in income tax since 2005.
The charges that Weisselberg and the Trump Organization face include fraud, grand larceny, conspiracy, tax fraud and falsifying business records.
Weisselberg surrendered to the Manhattan district attorney's office Thursday morning prior to his court appearance.
The charges come after two years of investigations into Donald Trump and his finances by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
Vance's investigation ramped up earlier this year when the Supreme Court ruled that Trump must turn over his tax returns to investigators.
"Today is an important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. "In the indictment, we allege, among other things, financial wrongdoing whereby the Trump Organization engaged in a scheme with Mr. Weisselberg to avoid paying taxes on certain compensation. This investigation will continue, and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead."
Following Thursday's hearing, attorneys representing the Trump Organization painted the charges as politically motivated.
"We will win this case, but this case should have never been brought. This is a political prosecution," said attorney Susan Necheles.
"Certainly, given the nature and unprecedented nature of these charges, that's the reason they were brought," said another attorney for the Trump Organization. "If the name of the company were something else, I'm fairly certain these charges would not be brought."