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Former Giuliani associate Parnas sentenced to 20 months for campaign finance fraud

The Hill logo The Hill 6/29/2022 Zach Schonfeld
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Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was sentenced to 20 months in prison Wednesday for campaign finance fraud and false statements on Wednesday.

Parnas’s sentence, which also carries a $2.32 million fine, comes after a jury found him guilty in October of violating campaign finance laws by funneling foreign money into U.S. politics to advance his interests in the recreational marijuana business.

He later pled guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy charge in March for providing false information to investors about his company, Fraud Guarantee.

“Parnas will now serve time in prison for his many crimes,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

“Not content to defraud investors in his business, Fraud Guarantee, out of more than $2 million dollars, Parnas also defrauded the American public by pumping Russian money into U.S. elections and lying about the source of funds for political contributions,” Williams said.

“My office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who put their personal and financial gain above their country and their investors.”


Video: Giuliani's former Ukraine fixer gets 20 months (Associated Press)

Parnas was enlisted by Giuliani during the Trump administration to help him dig up dirt on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. 

Trump and others pressured Ukrainian officials to open an investigation into Biden, in a scheme that led to his first impeachment trial, but Wednesday’s sentence did not implicate the former president or Giuliani.

“Today, Lev Parnas received a below guidelines sentence of 20 months,” said Joseph Bondy, Parnas’s attorney. “As we said in court, it is not a somber day, and we are proud of Lev’s courage and efforts to assist our country in the first impeachment inquiry. We only wish that his testimony had been heard then.”

In October, Parnas and co-conspirator Andrey Kukushkin were convicted of campaign finance charges for donating money from Russian oligarch Andrey Muraviev to political campaigns, which they hoped would help them gain favor with candidates that could assist them in obtaining cannabis licenses. 

Another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, was sentenced in January to a year and a day in prison for his participation in the scheme.

In a separate scheme, Parnas and another co-conspirator encouraged multiple people to invest a total of $2 million in their business, Fraud Guarantee, and falsely claimed their funds would be used solely for legitimate business expenses. 

Prosecutors said the duo withdrew some of the funds and used them for personal expenditures, while Parnas also made false claims about how much he had contributed to the company.

Giuliani, who denies breaking the law, has said he worked for Fraud Guarantee for a salary of $500,000.

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