The Real Deal New York

Michael Cohen being investigated for $20M bank fraud

Authorities file charges by the end of August
August 20, 2018 08:45AM

Michael Cohen (Credit: Getty Images)

In their investigation into possible bank and tax fraud, federal investigators are focusing on more than $20 million in loans provided to Michael Cohen’s taxi businesses.

Authorities are in the final stages of their investigation and expect to file charges against President Trump’s former attorney by the end of August, the New York Times reported. The probe is looking at loans issued from Sterling National Bank and the Melrose Credit Union in December 2014.

Cohen used 32 medallions as collateral for the loans. At the time, they were each worth more than $1 million.

Investigators are also examining whether or not Cohen properly reported the income from these medallions.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen was under investigation for tax fraud, in addition to bank fraud, campaign-finance violations and other issues related to his businesses. At the time, the value of the bank loans in question were not public.

In May, Cohen’s longtime business partner Evgeny “Gene” Freidman — who managed Cohen’s medallions for several years — pleaded guilty to tax fraud, cutting a deal with prosecutors that requires him to cooperate with any ongoing investigations. If Cohen were to also cut a deal to avoid being indicted, he would likely have to agree to aiding special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into whether the Trump campaign was involved in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office are also investigating Cohen’s role in hiding negative information about the president, including claims that Trump had sexual encounters with former Playboy model Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, a former adult-film star.

Earlier this month, Cohen listed his 19th floor condominium at 111 Murray for rent, asking $25,000 per month. Last week, The Real Deal looked at Cohen’s brother, Bryan Cohen, the chief administration officer at Douglas Elliman Marketing, who has largely remained out of the spotlight. [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel