The Superseding Criminal Information is absolutely riveting – really, I’m not kidding. It’s about a 30-minute read and, if you have the time, I would highly recommend you peruse it – or at least pop it open and dive in at a few points. (Don’t be turned off by the length: The first 38 pages (all triple-spaced) are the juicy part – you can skip the whole second half which is comprised of attachments – you’ll only want to wade through those if you’re a super sleuth).
The title alone pulls you in, right? Superseding Criminal Information – I say, “Bring it on!” And the opening line is indeed ominous – you can almost hear the Law and Order “dun dun” soundtrack in the background: “The Special Counsel Informs the Court:” [munch on fistful of popcorn before proceeding].
Here are some highlights:
MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work.
In furtherance of the scheme, MANAFORT funneled millions of dollars in payments into foreign nominee companies and bank accounts, opened by him and his underlings in nominee names and in various foreign countries, including Cyprus, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (Grenadines), and the United Kingdom.
I love that prhase “In furtherance of the scheme” – it’s repeated several times to introduce additional nefarious acts.
In furtherance of the scheme, MANAFORT used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income. MANAFORT, without reporting the income to his bookkeeper or tax preparers or to the United States, spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services for himself and his extended family through payments wired from offshore nominee accounts to United States vendors.
Manafort laundered more than $30 million to buy property, goods, and services in the United States, income that he concealed from the United States Treasury, the Department of Justice, and others. MANAFORT cheated the United States out of over $15 million in taxes.
THE SCHEME: . . . Between in or around 2006 and 2017, both dates being approximate and inclusive, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, MANAFORT and others devised and intended to devise, and executed and attempted to execute, a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises from the United States, banks, and other financial institutions.
“Artifice to defraud” – now that’s downright poetic. And note that the crimes extend into 2017!
From 2008 to 2014, MANAFORT caused the following wires, totaling over $12,000,000, to be sent to the vendors listed below for personal items. MANAFORT did not pay taxes on this income, which was used to make the purchases.
Then follows 9 pages detailing millions of dollars illegal wire transfers made as part of Manafort’s money laundering and tax evasion schemes. Here’s a sample page. BTW, I’m planning a kitchen remodel and my entire budget is in the ballpark of what Manafort spent on just one day of shopping for designer suits at Alan Couture with his dirty money. (I guess one consolation for Manafort is that while he’s a guest of the Federal Government he’ll be getting his suits for free.)
The filing goes on to describe Manafort’s dirty tricks perpetrated during his time as an unregistered lobbyist – plus, his bumbling foray into ineffectual witness tampering. I’ve cherry picked from these sections some samples of Manafort’s more colorful language: “push[ed] [w]ith no fingerprints” – “[m]y goal is to plant some stink on Tymo” – “[O]bama jews” – “a fig leaf on a fig leaf” – "It’s like Alice in Wonderland."
Next come the two charges to which Manafort is pleading guilty:
Count One: Conspiracy Against the United States - which includes charges of money laundering, tax fraud, failing to file Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBAR), violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and just plain lying to the Feds.
Count Two: Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice (Witness Tampering) - the crime Manafort committed along with Kilimnik before his first trial.
[Note to Trump: As you like to so smugly remind us, “collusion” is not technically a crime, but it can be part of a “conspiracy” which is a crime – just ask Manafort.]
The document concludes with the satisfying “Forfeiture” section:
PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., shall forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, involved in such offense, and any property traceable to such property, and any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the offense . . .
This is followed by a detailed accounting of all said properties and assets. I can’t imagine Manafort’s going to be left with much of anything since he’s forfeiting all his ill-gotten gains and that’s pretty much everything since 2006 (listed in the first paragraph as the start date of these crimes). I’ll bet he’s regretting not accepting a pay check for his time as Campaign Chairman – maybe Trump will pay him retroactively.