Manafort's ex son-in-law arrested on new criminal charges

Manafort's ex son-in-law arrested on new criminal charges

REUTERS: The former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, the one-time chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, has been arrested on charges that he engaged in financial fraud while out on bail on a prior case, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Jeffrey Yohai, a former business partner of Manafort's, was already facing potential jail time after pleading guilty in February in the prior case, which involved misuse of real estate loan funds. That agreement included Yohai cooperating with prosecutors in other criminal probes, Reuters reported in May.

The new charges, which were unsealed on Wednesday, involve several fraud schemes similar to the conduct in the prior case in which Yohai had pleaded guilty, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California said in a press release.

"In both criminal cases, Yohai obtained money for what he claimed was a legitimate purpose, such as an investment, but he then used the money for personal expenses or to pay debts," the U.S. Attorney's office said in the release.

Hilary Potashner, a public defender who is representing Yohai, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yohai and Manafort co-invested in four high-priced homes in the Los Angeles area before defaulting on loans and putting them into bankruptcy in 2016. The two have exchanged allegations of wrongdoing and both lost millions on the investments.

Yohai, who got a divorce from Manafort's daughter last August, pleaded guilty in the first case in February 2018 and had been out on bond ahead of a planned sentencing date early next year.

According to the press release, Yohai submitted inflated appraisals in seeking to refinance two of the properties at issue in the first case. Yohai also sought to defraud the owner of a rental property with a US$60,000 check he falsely claimed was remitted from his ex-wife's account, the release said.

Yohai faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the newly unsealed complaint, the release said.

Manafort himself pleaded guilty in September in a federal court in Washington to conspiracy against the United States - a charge that includes a range of conduct from money laundering to unregistered lobbying - and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

As part of his plea deal, Manafort is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia - which both Trump and the Kremlin deny occurred.

Mueller's prosecutors agreed last month to drop criminal charges against Manafort that a jury had deadlocked on in August in a separate case against him in Virginia.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in New York; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: Reuters

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