The Real Deal New York

Manafort’s former son-in-law was allegedly running a real estate scam while awaiting sentencing… for real estate fraud

Jeffrey Yohai was arrested on new charges this week
November 08, 2018 09:50AM

Jeffrey Yohai and Paul Manafort (Credit: Twitter and Getty Images)

While awaiting sentencing on real estate fraud charges he pleaded guilty to last year, Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law took up a curious hobby: he concocted a variety of real estate scams that totaled more than $21 million, according to federal prosecutors.

Jeffrey Yohai, who was married to Manafort’s daughter Jessica in 2013, was arrested in Los Angeles last week on the new charges and has a bail hearing set for Wednesday.

Yohai tried to dupe lenders into providing loans based on false and inflated property appraisals, federal officials said. He also arranged short-term rentals of a luxury home and pocketed the profits without paying the property’s owner, according to a criminal complaint. According to Politico, he also sold fake tickets to Coachella and pawned $20,000 worth of stolen guitars and musical equipment. Yohai and Manafort’s daughter Jessica got a divorce last year.

Yohai falsely told victims of his scheme that he has “turned state’s evidence” on Manafort, according to an FBI agent who filed an affidavit in support of Yohai’s arrest. The agent also works with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

In September, Manafort forfeited five properties–four in New York City and one home in the Hamptons–in exchange for hanging onto the contents of one of his four seized bank accounts and his Arlington, Virginia home. Together, the properties are estimated to be worth a combined $21.7 million.

Real estate has played a prominent role in the former Trump campaign manager’s trial. Evidence presented in the case includes more than 200 pages of invoices and job descriptions for some of the more than $7 million Manafort spent on renovating properties, using funds alleged not to have been disclosed to the IRS. Though he was never charged or brought in as a witness in the Mueller inquiry, a jury found Manafort guilty of providing fraudulent information to a bank to secure a loan on California properties he invested in with Yohai. [Bloomberg] — Meenal Vamburkar