MortgageReal Estate

Paul Manafort charged with mortgage fraud in New York minutes after federal sentencing

If convicted, a presidential pardon won't do any good

It was a tough day for Paul Manafort. On Wednesday, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump was sentenced to an additional 3.5 years in prison on conspiracy charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort was found guilty in federal court of money laundering, obstruction of justice and a failure to disclose lobbying work, upping his total prison sentence to 7.5 years.

Then, less than an hour later, Manafort was charged by a New York state court for his involvement in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme that includes 16 counts of residential mortgage fraud and conspiracy. And if he’s convicted, President Trump can’t pardon him.

According the indictment, Manafort falsified business records to unlawfully obtain millions of dollars in loans in a year-long fraud scheme.

The indictment is the result of an investigation that began in 2017 after prosecutors took a closer look at loans Manafort received from two separate banks.

The loans were also part of Mueller’s investigation and led to some of the counts against Manafort in the federal indictment that led to his conviction in Virginia last year. The jury in the case was unable to reach a consensus on 10 of the 18 counts Manafort faced. Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those counts. Earlier this month, Manafort was sentenced to a little under four years in prison in the case. 

Mueller’s indictment detailed how Manafort misrepresented his financial status to obtain mortgages on U.S. properties, alleging that he secured more than $20 million in loans by inflating his company’s income and failing to disclose his debts.

Manhattan prosecutors tabled their inquiry into the mortgage fraud charges to prevent interference with Mueller’s investigation, according to The New York Times. But they recently resumed their investigation, convening a grand jury last week to review evidence, which led to Wednesday’s indictment.

The Times said it’s likely that Manafort’s lawyers will challenge the indictment on the grounds of double jeopardy, but noted that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who levied the charges, expressed confidence in the case.

“No one is beyond the law in New York,” said Vance. “Following an investigation commenced by our office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations, which strike at the heart of New York’s sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market.”

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