Falsified loan applications, prosecutors say



ALEXANDRIA, Virginia – As Paul Manafort scrambled for cash in 2016 to offset declining overseas advisory income, former campaign chairman Trump submitted loan applications allegedly littered with misrepresentation and misrepresentation more than $ 8 million research statements from California and New York banks. York.

In one case, while applying for a $ 5 million loan from the Banc of California, federal prosecutors in the Manafort tax and bank fraud trial presented documents on Thursday that allegedly showed $ 4 million in income from the bank. company swollen, a $ 3.4 million loan default obtained days before his March 2016 application and 100% ownership of a $ 25 million property that actually belonged to his wife.

Gary Seferian, senior vice president of the California bank, told a jury in federal court that bank officials later discovered the property differential on the $ 25 million property and approved an amount. loan less than $ 1 million. Manafort demanded the money, bank officials said, to fund a plan to renovate and resell homes in Los Angeles.

Had the bank learned that income had been overstated or that existing loans had not been disclosed, Seferian said he would have “stopped the request and spoke to our legal department.”

In a separate Manafort New York transaction, prosecutors offered documents that had been submitted to Citizens Bank in January 2016 that falsely listed a rental property as a second home, failed to disclose an existing mortgage on a separate property. and inflated its income by $ 1.5 million. .

Even as Manafort proposed the $ 3.4 million refinancing loan application on the New York loft classified as a second home, Citizens Band mortgage assistant Melinda James said Thursday she found the same property for rent when searching online. Manafort was preparing to obtain a better loan rate by classifying the property as a second home.

Later, an Airbnb executive said that the home listed for refinancing and designated as a “second home” by Manafort had in fact been listed for rent on the rental agent’s website.

The property was briefly removed from the site during loan processing, but was re-listed for lease after loan approval.

James alerted his superiors to the discrepancy as well as concerns about the existence of an undisclosed mortgage on a second property that Manafort claimed to be outright ownership.

James told a jury in federal court that Manafort finally received the $ 3.4 million loan in March 2016, although she is not sure how her issues were resolved. Four days later, according to bank documents offered Thursday, Manafort applied for the California loan.

Earlier this week, Manafort associate, Rick Gates, testified that he answered Citizens Bank’s questions by submitting false documents, under the direction of his boss.

Manafort’s lawyers took issue with the government’s interpretation of the loan documents, suggesting in part that the income claimed by Manafort was money that had been earned but not yet received. They also took issue with the government’s claim that Manafort did not disclose all existing mortgages.

In total, prosecutors alleged that Manafort fraudulently obtained more than $ 20 million in bank loans.

The bank fraud-related testimony comes as prosecutors are expected to close their case against Manafort by Friday.

The case against Manafort – 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and conspiracy – is the first to be tried by special counsel Robert Mueller and focuses on Manafort’s business relationships. It doesn’t directly have to do with Manafort’s work for President Donald Trump.

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