August 20, 2018 / 10:05 AM / 3 months ago

Factbox: Ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort faces 18 criminal counts

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) - The jury in the trial of Paul Manafort will deliberate for a third day on Monday on whether to convict the former campaign chairman for U.S. President Donald Trump on 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose overseas bank accounts.

FILE PHOTO: Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty. The trial is taking place in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Half the counts involve bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy, which carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for each count. The five tax fraud counts carry three year maximums, while the four counts related to the disclosure of his foreign bank accounts have a maximum sentence of 5 years each.

In total the statutory maximums suggest a possible prison term of up to 305 years, although Manafort would, if convicted, likely face far fewer years based on federal sentencing guidelines. Three experts polled by Reuters gave estimates ranging from 7 to 12 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Here is a summary of the charges and related testimony at trial:

FALSE TAX RETURNS - FIVE COUNTS

Manafort is charged with five counts of signing off on and aiding in the production of false tax returns, one count each for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Prosecutors say Manafort indicated on the returns that he did not have bank accounts in foreign countries even though he controlled 31 accounts in Cyprus and elsewhere overseas, and underreported his earnings in order to limit his taxable income.

Michael Welch, a revenue agent for the Internal Revenue Service, testified that Manafort did not report $16.5 million of business income on his tax returns between 2010 and 2014. Welch also said that a $900,000 payment from overseas was improperly reclassified as a loan in 2014 to reduce Manafort’s taxes.

An accountant for Manafort, Cynthia Laporta, testified that Manafort and Rick Gates backdated and doctored documents, including to reclassify the $900,000 payment as a loan, a move which cut Manafort’s taxes by half a million dollars. Gates testified that he had lied to Laporta and to the bookkeeper to hide the overseas bank accounts and reduce Manafort’s taxes.

Manafort’s lawyers pinned the blame on Gates, suggesting Manafort was eligible for an “embezzlement deduction” on the money stolen by Gates. They also said that such tax issues would normally be rectified through a civil IRS audit, although the judge told the jury that the government was not required to explore a civil remedy before bringing a criminal tax case.

Statutory maximum: 3 years prison for each count.

FAILURE TO REPORT FOREIGN BANK ACCOUNTS - FOUR COUNTS

Prosecutors charged Manafort with four counts of failing to report so-called Foreign Bank Account Reports, or FBARs - one count for each year from 2011 to 2014.

Generally, U.S. citizens are required to submit an FBAR report annually to the Treasury Department if the aggregate value of their foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 during the 12-month period.

Prosecutors say Manafort did not submit FBARs even though he had control over 31 bank overseas bank accounts, mainly in Cyprus and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Paula Liss, a Treasury Department agent, testified that there were no FBAR filings by Manafort or his businesses between 2011 and 2014. The government put into evidence a series of emails showing Manafort directing payments out of the accounts, countering the defense’s argument that Manafort might not have signature authority over some of those accounts.

Morgan Magionos, an FBI forensic accountant, walked the jury through her tracing of the wire transfers from the overseas accounts, which she said showed the accounts were controlled by Manafort either directly or indirectly via his agents in Cyprus.

Manafort’s lawyers sought to sow doubt over whether Manafort willfully broke the law. “Any idea that has been given to you by the United States government, the Office of Special Counsel that this stuff is straightforward and simple, it is just not true,” Kevin Downing said in his closing statement.

Statutory maximum: 5 years prison on each count.

LOANS FROM CITIZENS BANK - THREE COUNTS

Prosecutors charged Manafort with bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy related to a $3.4 million loan in March 2016 from Citizens Bank, a Rhode Island-based lender, secured by a condominium in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan. Manafort was also charged with one count of bank fraud conspiracy related to an attempt to get a separate $5.5 million loan from the bank on a brownstone in Brooklyn, which did not materialize.

Melinda James, a mortgage assistant at Citizens, testified that Manafort did not disclose a mortgage on the brownstone when applying for the loan on the Soho condo. Under cross-examination she acknowledged that it was Gates, using a dated insurance declaration, who ultimately misled her following a series of contradictory exchanges on the matter.

James also said that Manafort indicated the Manhattan condo was a second residence, when it was listed for rent, an apparent attempt to get a lower interest rate on the loan.

Taryn Rodriguez, a loan officer assistant at Citizens, testified that Manafort did not disclose an existing mortgage on the brownstone when he was applying for the $5.5 million loan on the property. Rodriguez said she discovered the mortgage by researching a New York City database of property records.

Statutory maximum: 30 years prison on each count.

LOAN FROM BANC OF CALIFORNIA - TWO COUNTS

Prosecutors charged Manafort with bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy for submitting a false statement of assets and liabilities, among other misleading information, to secure a $1 million business loan from Banc of California in 2016.

Gary Seferian, a senior vice president at Banc of California, testified that his bank gave Manafort the $1 million loan to rehabilitate and flip properties in the Los Angeles area, in part based on a financial statement for DMP International showing a profit of $4.4 million for 2015.

In reality, prosecutors said, DMP International’s profit was less than a tenth that amount. When Seferian was asked what he would have done if he had known DMP’s profit statement had been inflated, he testified, “I would have stopped the application and spoken to my legal department about it.”

Statutory maximum: 30 years prison on each count.

LOANS FROM THE FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK - FOUR COUNTS

Prosecutors charged Manafort with two counts of bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud conspiracy related to two loans worth $16 million from the Federal Savings Bank, a small Chicago-based lender, in late 2016 and early 2017.

Prosecutors say Manafort, along with Rick Gates, provided doctored profit and loss statements to the bank to get the loans, among other misleading information. Federal lent Manafort $9.5 million against his estate in the Hamptons, an enclave for the rich on the eastern tip of Long Island, and $6.5 million against the Brooklyn brownstone.

Dennis Raico, a former salesman at the bank, testified that the bank’s chief executive, Steve Calk, personally approved the loans and expedited them while seeking Manafort’s help getting a cabinet post in the Trump administration. Calk was named an advisor to the Trump campaign but never received a cabinet post.

James Brennan, an executive at Federal Savings Bank, corroborated Raico’s account. Brennan testified that bank president Javier Ubarri initially rejected the $9.5 million loan but that Calk overruled him. “It closed because Mr. Calk wanted it to close,” Brennan said of the loan.

Manafort’s lawyers sought to get the charges related to the Federal Savings Bank loans thrown out, arguing that any inconsistencies in information supplied by Manafort to the bank was not material and that the bank had been made aware of the “true status” of Manafort’s financial situation. Judge T.S. Ellis rejected that motion, saying the jury should decide.

Statutory maximum: 30 years prison on each count.

Reporting by Nathan Layne in Alexandria, Virginia; Editing by Peter Cooney and Daniel Wallis

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