The Real Deal New York

FBI investigating Paul Manafort’s real estate deals amid Ponzi scheme allegations: report

Former Trump campaign manager partnered with son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai to buy properties
June 23, 2017 11:12AM

Paul Manafort (Credit: Getty Images)

The FBI is investigating real estate deals involving former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his son-in-law, who has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme.

The New York Times reported that investigators are looking into a series of mortgages used to fund the acquisition of luxury homes in New York City and California. Manafort partnered on those deals with his son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai.

It wasn’t clear whether the probe was related to ongoing investigations into Manafort’s failure to file lobbying disclosures and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian Federation.

According to the Times Manafort and his wife took out around $20 million in mortgages on properties they own in recent years.  Some of that money ended in California properties owned with Yohai, who ran a real estate investment business.

According to text messages sent by Manafort’s daughter Jessica that were published by Ukrainian hackers, Manafort was a 50/50 partner with Yohai and at one point “flew out to California and helped Jeff completely reorganize and set up his business.”

In November, one of Yohai’s investors (a list that includes actor Dustin Hoffman) filed a lawsuit accusing him of running a fraud scheme, paying off early investors with money from later ones. Yohai disputed the accusations.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are in the early stages of separate investigations into Manafort’s real estate dealings, according to Bloomberg. [NYT]Konrad Putzier