Donald Trump’s company was fined $1.6 million Friday as punishment for a scheme in which the former president’s top executives dodged personal income taxes on lavish job perks—a symbolic, hardly crippling blow for an enterprise boasting billions of dollars in assets. A fine was the only penalty a judge could impose on the Trump Organization for its conviction last month for 17 tax crimes, including conspiracy and falsifying business records, the AP reports. The amount imposed by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was the maximum allowed by law, 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. The Trump Organization was charged through its subsidiaries Trump Corp., which was fined $810,000; and Trump Payroll Corp., which was fined $800,000. The fines—less than the cost of a Trump Tower apartment—aren't big enough to impact the company’s operations or future. Indeed, Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said they constitute "a fraction of the revenue" of the Trump Organization and that the scheme was "far-reaching and brazen."
In a statement released after sentencing, the Trump Organization said it did nothing wrong and would appeal the verdict. "New York has become the crime and murder capital of the world, yet these politically motivated prosecutors will stop at nothing to get President Trump and continue the never ending witch-hunt which began the day he announced his presidency," the statement said. Besides the company, only one executive was charged in the case: former Trump Organization CFO 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.)