Ex-Manafort Son-In-Law Allegedly Bragged About Aiding Mueller Probe As Part Of Scam

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Jeff Yohai and Jessica Manafort attend Gabrielle's Angel Foundation 2013 ANGEL BALL at Cipriani Wall St on October 29, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai boasted about having “turned state’s evidence” on his ex-father-in-law in order to to swindle investors into a real estate scam, according to a newly unsealed criminal complaint.

“During lunch, Yohai told [the men] that he ‘turned state’s evidence’ on his father-in-law, Paul Manafort,” wrote FBI Special Agent Sherine Ebadi in an affidavit, recounting an attempt by Yohai to convince the owner of a luxury Los Angeles property to let him rent out the unit at a profit.

“Yohai made several statements…that he had to go do ‘D.C.’ to meet with the Special Counsel’s Office or ‘downtown’ to meet with ‘the feds,’” Ebadi wrote.

Yohai’s bragging about his nonexistent ties to the Mueller probe — though false — allegedly earned him a brief payday. The investor agreed to go into business with Yohai, and claimed to have lost $200,000 from the venture.

Yohai was arrested by Los Angeles police last week on wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges stemming from a scheme whereby he allegedly rented out high-end properties that he didn’t own and pocketed the proceeds while stiffing the actual property owner.

It’s worth noting: Manafort’s former son-in-law was allegedly running this real estate scam while awaiting sentencing on separate charges of real estate fraud that he pleaded guilty to last year. That case involved $15 million in loans he took out to refurbish homes in Hollywood.

Ebadi noted similarities between the alleged frauds, saying that Yohai is accused of essentially running one scheme: “Yohai usually obtains someone else’s money for a purportedly legitimate purpose, such as an investment, but uses the money for personal expenses…and then lulls the victim into believing that the money has been properly used.”

In one instance, Yohai was “lull[ing] the victim” by saying he was going to get the “money from a prominent marijuana grower who owed Yohai $300,000.”

Yohai and Manafort’s daughter, Jessica, divorced last year. In hacked texts, her sister Andrea Manafort wrote that Yohai was running “a ponzi scheme.”

That allegedly didn’t stop him from using Jessica Manafort’s identity to try to pay off his debts. At one point, he sent a picture of an allegedly forged check in Jessica Manafort’s name to a client, attempting to prove he was able to pay up.

The affidavit runs through other frauds that Yohai is accused of committing, including a scheme where he allegedly sold $6,000 in fake Coachella tickets. Other allegations include check kiting, loan fraud, and pawning more than $20,000 in stolen musical equipment.

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