Former Trump 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort has a bit more to pay back in official restitution dollars–but not really through any fault of his own. The problem, rather, for Manafort is an “arithmetical error” made by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.
According to a Wednesday morning filing submitted with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), Manafort’s sum total owed in restitution to the victims of his various fraud schemes is precisely $25,497,487.60. This is an upward departure of some $682,000 from the original $24,815,108.74 he was ordered to pay by the government and the EDVA just last week.
The five-page filing notes:
On March 12, 2019, the government submitted a proposed restitution order to the Court that identified the total amount of restitution as $24,815,108.74 with $2,577,724.80 owed to Citizens Bank. The Court signed the restitution order on March 13, 2019. After the Court signed the restitution order, the government identified an arithmetical or other clear error in the restitution order concerning the amount of restitution owed to Citizens Bank. The actual amount of restitution owed to Citizens Bank is $3,260,103.66, which is the outstanding principal balance on [a posh condominium in New York City’s über posh Soho neighborhood]
Recall: Manafort was convicted on a series of bank fraud offenses by an Alexandria, Virginia jury last summer in part due to his use of the Soho condominium a high-priced Airbnb rental unit. On a loan application, however, Manafort told the bank that he would be living at the property. So, according to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, Manafort is obligated to pay back the bank’s losses–which here means the outstanding balance of a mortgage loan and personal line of credit taken out against the property.
The filing then goes into detail as to how exactly the math error occurred.
“[W]hen calculating the amount of restitution owed to Citizens Bank, both the probation office and government inadvertently failed to include the $682,378.86 of outstanding principal balance Manafort owed from the line of credit on the Howard Street property,” the filing notes. “This arithmetical error – due to accidentally omitting the $682,378.86 of outstanding principal balance on the line of credit – was an oversight and clear error. When the balance on the Howard Street property line of credit is correctly added, Citizens Bank’s total loss – and the amount of restitution owed to the Bank – is $3,260,103.66 not $2,577,724.80 as listed in the original order.”
Manafort’s attorneys are nonplussed by the corrected restitution offer and have put forward no objection to increasing the amount of money their client owes, according to the filing.
But there’s still apparently some drama here yet. That is, Manafort himself allegedly refuses to sign off on the change–or the initial attempt for that matter.
“The government has conferred with defense counsel and they have no objection to the language or form of the attached proposed corrected restitution order,” the filing continues. “Nevertheless, Mr. Manafort continues to decline to sign the corrected restitution order as he did the original restitution order.”
[image via Alexandria Detention Center]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]