The Trump Organization pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of fraud and tax crimes in connection with a "15-year-long scheme to compensate a top executive off the books," The New York Times and The Associated Press report. That executive, longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg, was hit with grand larceny, tax fraud, and other charges for allegedly avoiding taxes on approximately $1.7 million in "indirect" compensation, receiving tax refunds to which he wasn't entitled, and falsifying tax records, Buzzfeed News reports.
"To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme," said Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney.
Charges were revealed at a state Supreme Court arraignment in Manhattan. The executive allegedly evaded taxes on perks like rent, cars, and tuition for family members that were paid for by the Trump Organization but left unreported. Weisselberg pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers said he plans to "fight these charges in court," per the Times. The CFO surrendered to the D.A. Thursday morning.
Investigators have long been looking at Weisselberg and the Trump Organization for evidence of tax-related crimes, the Times writes. Former President Donald Trump was not personally charged in the indictment, but the district attorney's office signaled earlier on Thursday that the investigation remains "active" and "ongoing."