Giuliani Associate Lev Parnas Hit With New Fraud Charges

This undated image released by the House Judiciary Committee from documents provided by Lev Parnas to the committee in the impeachment probe against President Donald Trump, shows a photo of Lev Parnas with Rudy Giuliani. (House Judiciary Committee via AP)

(CN) — Federal prosecutors filed additional charges on Thursday against Lev Parnas, a former associate of attorney Rudy Giuliani and impeachment figure now awaiting trial on campaign finance allegations.  

The superseding indictment also contains new allegations against David Correia, a South Florida man who had partnered with Parnas on a marijuana business.  

The original indictment charged four counts of conspiring to defraud the United States, false statements to the Federal Elections Commission and falsification of records, in connection to a straw donor scheme to funnel foreign money into U.S. elections through limited liability companies.

The superseding indictment adds two counts based on conduct already charged in the original indictment and adds a new wire fraud conspiracy charge against Parnas and Correia based on conduct not previously charged in the original indictment.

In a statement, Parnas’ attorney Joseph Bondy called the development predictable. 

“Lev Parnas has been on strict home confinement for nearly one year, waiting for this superseding indictment, which contains no surprises,” Bondy said. “We are pleased that the matter can now move forward, for both Mr. Parnas and the public interest.”  

Prosecutors say that Parnas, 48, and Correa, 45, conspired to mislead potential investors to invest in Fraud Guarantee, the same company Parnas used to hire Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani in a relationship that has drawn scrutiny from federal prosecutors. 

At least seven alleged victims invested in Fraud Guarantee — in amounts ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars, for a total of more than $2 million — because prosecutors say the men misled them about how much they had contributed to the company and how much money the company had raised overall.  

Announcing the new charges on Thursday, FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney Jr. said the agency is determined to disrupt “deliberately corrupt behavior, or foreign influence disguised as legitimate activity.”

“We couldn’t say it better ourselves — the behavior alleged today is indeed fraudulent — guaranteed,” Sweeney added.

During the impeachment investigation, Parnas shared thousands of files with the House Intelligence Committee, and he traveled to the U.S. Capitol in person earlier this year to offer his testimony for Trump’s impeachment trial. 

“I think I’ve said a lot, and I think a lot has been proven by my evidence that I brought over to the House,” Parnas told reporters at the time. “So, the next thing is I’d like to be involved, and I welcome all of them, I welcome Rudy [Giuliani] to come testify. I welcome the president to come testify under oath. I welcome [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo to come testify under oath, and Attorney General Bill Barr.” 

The new conspiracy count arising from the alleged Fraud Guarantee  scheme carries a maximum 20-year sentence and adds forfeiture allegations to the superseding indictment. 

Correia’s attorney defense attorney Bill Harrington declined on Thursday to comment on the superseding indictment.

Parnas’ associate Igor Fruman, who refused to cooperate with House Democrats’ investigation, does not face any new charge in connection with Fraud Guarantee. 

Fruman’s attorney Todd Blanche, who previously represented former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, also declined to comment on the indictment Thursday evening.

The case is being handled by the Department of Justice’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebekah Donaleski, Nicolas Roos, and Douglas Zolkind are in charge of the prosecution.The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in the Southern District of New York. The trial is currently scheduled for Feb. 1, 2021.

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