Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to mortgage fraud charges

Trump's former campaign chairman arraigned in New York court

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty to mortgage fraud charges in a New York City courtroom Thursday.

If found guilty, the state’s charges could keep him in prison even if the president pardons him for the federal crimes for which he is currently serving time.

Manafort is no stranger to the courtroom.

In March, the 70 year old was sentenced to an additional 3.5 years in prison for money laundering, obstruction of justice and a failure to disclose lobbying work, bringing his total sentence to 7.5 years and landing him his very own bed in a Pennsylvania federal prison.

Then, less than an hour after the sentencing, Manafort was slapped with charges 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.

According to 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.

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 once that was put to bed, they resumed their investigation, dragging Manafort into New York’s Supreme Court to answer for his crimes.

Last month, the U.S. government seized five luxury homes owned by Manafort, including a 10-bedroom mansion in the Hamptons, a Trump Tower condominium and a seven-bedroom townhouse in Brooklyn.

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