The former president’s oldest son appeared to mock the idea of paying taxes in a meme on his Instagram page after his father’s eponymous company was fined $1.6m following a conviction stemming from years-long tax avoidance scheme.
Prosecutors accused the companies of scheming to avoid paying payroll taxes by compensating top executives with lavish untaxed perks.
The Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation each face maximum fines of $800,000. The Trump Organization’s long-time chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, also was sentenced to five months in jail this week from charges stemming from the criminal investigation into the former president’s business empire.
On Instagram, Donald Trump Jrposted an image reading “Don’t forget to pay your taxes. Other countries are depending on it,” alluding to right-wing complaints about ongoing US spending to support Ukraine against Russian attacks.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement on 13 January that Mr Trump’s business “conducted and benefitted from sweeping fraud for well over a decade.”
“While corporations can’t serve jail time, this consequential conviction and sentencing serves as a reminder to corporations and executives that you cannot defraud tax authorities and get away with it,” he added.
Mr Bragg’s office is pursuing a broad criminal inquiry into the company’s financial statements, and the latest sentence “represents a significant chapter of our ongoing investigation” into the former president, he said.
The subsidiaries were convicted of three counts of falsifying business records, two counts third-degree tax fraud, and one count each of scheming to defraud in the first degree, fourth-degree conspiracy, and fourth-degree criminal tax fraud.
Mr Bragg suggested other indictments could follow, as he told reporters following Friday’s sentencing that his prosecutors “now move on to the next chapter”.
While the resulting fines amount to less than $2m, criminal convictions against the company could impact its business and lending and be used as leverage for a blockbuster lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accused the former president of “grossly” inflating the value of his net worth by billions of dollars in an effort to fraudulently gain tax benefits and other benefits from insurers and financial institutions.
Her lawsuit seeks to recover $250m in lost revenue and penalties, as well as a judge’s order that would permanently bar the Trumps from holding any offices with businesses in the state. The New York judge overseeing that case has also blocked Mr Trump and his company from transferring assets without first notifying the court and the attorney general’s office. An independent monitor is overseeing compliance with the order.