The stiffest penalty Donald Trump’s company could receive when it is sentenced by a New York judge for helping its executives dodge taxes is a $1.6 million fine, not even enough to buy a Trump Tower apartment.
Neither the former president nor his children, who helped run and promote the Trump Organisation, are expected to be in the courtroom for the sentencing hearing. The company will be represented by its lawyers.
Because the Trump Organisation is a corporation and not a person, a fine is the only way a judge can punish the company after its conviction last month for 17 tax crimes, including charges of conspiracy and falsifying business records.
By law, the maximum penalty that can be imposed by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan is around $1.6 million, an amount equal to double the taxes a small group of executives avoided on benefits including rent-free apartments in Trump buildings, luxury cars and private school tuition.
Trump himself was not on trial and denied any knowledge of his executives evading taxes illegally.
While a fine of that amount isn’t likely to affect the company’s operations or future, the conviction is a black mark on the Republican’s reputation as a savvy businessman as he mounts a campaign to regain the White House.
Besides the company, only one executive was charged in the case: former Trump Organisation Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty last summer to evading taxes on $1.7 million in compensation. He was sentenced Tuesday to five months in jail.
Trump has said the case against his company was part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” waged against him by vindictive Democrats. The company’s lawyers have vowed to appeal the verdict.
The criminal case involved financial practices and payment arrangements that the company halted when Trump was elected president in 2016.