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Paul Manafort’s Former Son-in-Law Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison For Scamming More Than $13 Million


WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, exits the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, February 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is Manafort’s first court appearance since his longtime deputy Rick Gates pleaded guilty last week in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.A California federal judge on Friday sentenced Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law to over nine years in prison for defrauding several individuals in a series of fraudulent real estate deals totaling more than $13 million according to a report from the Associated Press.

Jeffrey Yohai, who married the former Trump campaign manager’s daughter Jessica in 2017, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud in a wide-ranging variety of scams.

In addition to his incarceration, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. ordered Yohai to repay $6.7 million for his crimes, some of which were perpetrated while he was free on bond for a different series of real estate scams. Yohai’s sentence is more than a year longer than the sentence Manafort received after a Virginia jury convicted him of fraud and tax crimes last year.

“This is an individual who has an evil mind — I don’t know how else to say it,” Judge Birotte reportedly said. “It seems he felt he could do whatever he wants – but that buck stops here.”

According to the report, Yohai’s crimes included renting luxury homes without the knowledge or permission of the homeowners and hocking backstage VIP passes to exclusive events such as Coachella that never existed – he even conned Dustin Hoffman out of $3 million, getting the Academy award-winning actor to invest in a fraudulent real estate project then using the funds for personal expenses.

Prosecutors initially requested Yohai be sentenced to 15 years in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Brown said Yohai had “done tremendous damage to a huge number of victims,” in court documents filed in September.

“The Defendant has shown an almost unbelievable compulsion to defraud others, to the point that he could not stop even while awaiting this court’s judgment on him in the first case, which strongly suggests that he will continue on his criminal path despite having been blessed with so many advantages,” Brown wrote.

“Worse, he seems to enjoy committing fraud and revels in cheating others out of their hard-earned money, as though he thought real work was only for patsies,” he added.

[Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.