Giuliani associate whose ‘fraud-busting’ business was itself a fraud is jailed for a year

David Correia's business associate Lev Parnas worked with Rudy Giuliani to undermine Joe Biden's presidential candidacy

Shweta Sharma@Ss22Shweta
Tuesday 09 February 2021 06:25
<p>File image: David Correia walks from federal court in New York in October 2019</p>

File image: David Correia walks from federal court in New York in October 2019

Rudy Giuliani’s associate David Correia, who hired Donald Trump’s lawyer as a consultant for his fraud-busting business, was sentenced on Monday to a year in prison after his venture turned out to be a fraud itself.

The Florida businessman pleaded guilty in October to duping investors in connection to £1.6m raised for the company “Fraud Guarantee”. The company was formulated to protect investors in businesses from becoming victims of fraud.

The start-up's ties with Mr Giuliani came under scrutiny after it paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars for consulting work while he also worked for Mr Trump as his lawyer and represented him during his first impeachment.

Correia, 45, was sentenced remotely by US District Judge J Paul Oetken in Manhattan and was granted a request for leniency.

He was charged alongside Mr Giuliani’s former associate Lev Parnas. The Ukrainian-born businessman Mr Parnas had worked with Mr Giuliani to undermine Joe Biden’s presidential bid and claimed innocence in the case.

Correia was ordered to pay costs of roughly £31,198 to the government and £1.45m in restitution.

The judge granted leniency to Correia on medical grounds, though he said it was “hard to ignore“ the irony of a fraud surrounding a business titled “Fraud Guarantee”.

The judge said that two out of Correia's seven victims had called for leniency in the case, which “suggests there are positive aspects of him as a person”.

“It is common for fraudsters to try to justify their behaviour on the theory that they thought it would all work out in the end,” the Washington Post quoted the judge as saying. “At the end of the day, that doesn’t justify fraud.”

The prosecution generated headlines after Mr Parnas and another co-defendant allegedly worked with Mr Giuliani to try to get Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Mr Giuliani has said he knew nothing about the men's alleged involvement, and he himself has not been charged.

Mr Giuliani, a former New York City mayor who served as ex-President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, has confirmed he was promised £362,742 to consult with the company. Prosecutors have not alleged Mr Giuliani did anything wrong and he was only referred to in court papers and at the sentencing as “Attorney-1".

Correia’s lawyer, William Harrington, argued that his client should not be handed a jail term as he took less than £36,275 over seven years and blamed Mr Parnas. He said Correia sincerely tried to build up Fraud Guarantee and “invested thousands of hours in what he described to me as ‘sweat equity’".

Correia showed “remorse” for his doings in the case and said they “do not reflect what I want to be in life, and I will never repeat them again.”

The Florida businessman will begin his sentence from 22 March. The penalty could be reduced to 10 months if good behaviour applies.

Additional reporting by agencies

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