Most criminal fraud defendants are anonymous to the general public unless and until they are indicted. One prominent exception to this rule is Lev Parnas, a New York investor who was identified as an associate of President Trump and who has been previously indicted for campaign finance violations. Now, Parnas has been indicted on allegations of financial fraud in connection with a company that he started, Fraud Guarantee. Parnas was anything but anonymous before this latest indictment, and his notoriety is likely to increase as the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan pursues its investigation.
Parnas, who is no longer believed to be an associate of the president, is alleged to have defrauded prospective investors in connection with the founding of Fraud Guarantee. Prosecutors have alleged that Parnas persuaded an array of investors to pour more than $2 million into Fraud Guarantee. The company supposedly said that it could protect purchasers of its services from financial fraud, but the company never offered any such services.
Parnas and his associate, who was also charged, told investors that their money would be used to get the company off the ground. Instead, Parnas and his associate used investor money for rent, luxury car leases, and other “apparently personal expenditures.” If convicted, Parnas may face up to twenty years in prison.
The long view
Cases such as this can take years to resolve. They usually involve thousands of documents, including e-mails, and dozens of witnesses. Anyone who faces similar charges may wish to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist in the defense. A knowledgeable attorney can provide an evaluation of the evidence, organize documentary evidence, develop legal theories for defense, and assist in the negotiation an acceptable plea agreement.