Former president Donald J. Trump’s family real estate business was ordered on Friday to pay a $1.6 million criminal penalty for its conviction on tax fraud and other charges, a stinging rebuke and the maximum possible punishment.
The sentence, handed down by a judge in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, caps a lengthy legal ordeal for Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, which was convicted in December of doling out off-the-books perks to some of its top executives. One of the executives who orchestrated the scheme, Allen H. Weisselberg, pleaded guilty and testified at the company’s trial. He was sentenced on Tuesday to serve five months at the notorious Rikers Island jail complex.
The financial penalty is a pittance to the company, and the former president, who collected hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year while in office. But the verdict branded the company a felon, exposed a culture that nurtured illegality for years and handed political ammunition to Mr. Trump’s opponents. Prosecutors also continue to press a criminal investigation against the man himself.
The Trump Organization’s lawyers on Friday sought a smaller penalty, pinning the blame on Mr. Weisselberg, who they say carried out the scheme without intending to benefit the Trump Organization. But Joshua Steinglass, a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which led the case against the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg, argued that the company carried out “a multi-dimensional scheme to defraud the tax authorities.”
“To avoid detection, they simply falsified the records,” he explained. “This conduct can only be described as egregious,” adding that although the maximum fines “may have limited impact on a multibillion corporation, this court should nonetheless impose such fines.”
And the judge overseeing the case, Juan Merchan, agreed, imposing the maximum $1.61 million.