Manafort's former son-in-law sentenced for multiple scams

November 09, 2019 - 2:58 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul Manafort's former son-in-law has been sentenced in Los Angeles to nine years in prison for pulling a series of schemes totaling more than $13 million, including one that bilked $3 million from actor Dustin Hoffman.

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. ordered Jeffrey Yohai to pay $6.7 million in restitution on Friday for the schemes, some of which were carried out while he was released on bond for similar crimes.

"This is an individual who has an evil mind — I don't know how else to say it," the judge said. "It seems he felt he could do whatever he wants - but that buck stops here."

Yohai pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud for schemes that included renting out luxury homes without the permission of their owners and selling non-existent backstage passes for the Coachella music festival.

Prosecutors said Yohai persuaded Hoffman and his son Jacob to invest in a real estate project, but he used their money for personal expenses and to pay debts.

When his credit rating plummeted, prosecutors said Yohai used his cousin's identity to run up $108,000 in credit card charges, they said.

"Defendant has done tremendous damage to a huge number of victims," Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Brown wrote in a court filing. Yohai "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."

"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," Brown added.

Yohai had once been married to Manafort's daughter, Jessica. Yohai's name surfaced during the bank and tax fraud trial for Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Manafort has been convicted several federal crimes and agreed to cooperate with investigators in the Russia probe.

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