West News Wire: An accountant testified in the criminal trial of the Trump Organization that Donald Trump declared roughly $1 billion in operating losses over a two-year period approximately ten years ago, leaking into the public tax data that the former president has repeatedly attempted to keep hidden.
Donald Bender, an accountant and partner at Mazars USA, the company that produced tax returns for Donald Trump and his business, testified in court on Tuesday that Trump claimed losses every year from 2009 to 2018 for a period of ten years.
Losses have been sustained over the years, according to Bender.
Trump’s family business was revealed during the Manhattan trial on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the IRS to provide the House Ways and Means Committee with six years’ worth of Trump’s tax records.
Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger questioned Bender about Trump’s taxes during cross-examination as the trial nears an end. The Manhattan district attorney fought for nearly three years to obtain the records, including two appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hoffinger asked Bender about Trump’s losses in 2009 and 2010, when the company lost nearly $1 billion.
“Do you recall in 2010 Donald Trump had losses of almost $200 million on his personal tax returns?” Hoffinger asked.
“I believe so,” Bender said after examining the records.
“Do you recall in 2009, Donald Trump had, his personal tax returns had losses around $700 million?” Hoffinger followed.
“Sounds about right,” Bender replied.
The staggering losses belie the reputation Trump has carefully tried to cultivate as a shrewd and successful businessman. That image helped carry him to the White House once, with Trump hoping it will again as he now embarks on a new run for president.
The numbers largely mirrored a report in The New York Times in September 2020 when they acquired select portions of Trump’s tax returns.
Trump is not a defendant in the case and the line of questioning had no obvious connection to the tax scheme the Trump Organization is charged with carrying out over a 12-year period when former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and other executives were allegedly paid off the books with perks like rent, car leases and private school tuition.
Weisselberg, who has pleaded guilty and testified pursuant to a plea agreement with prosecutors, has aided the defense by saying he hatched the scheme out of his own greed and Trump was unaware. He also testified that the scheme helped the Trump Organization reduce its payroll taxes, assisting the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office prove there was a benefit to the company.
Bender was the first witness called by the defense, which has suggested it was his responsibility to alert the Trump Organization to any fraud but didn’t in order to keep a lucrative client happy.