The Department of Justice said Wednesday that Lev Parnas, a businessman involved in the Trump-Ukraine affair, was sentenced to 20 months in prison on multiple charges relating to soliciting donations from a foreign national.
Parnas was convicted on charges of “conspiring to make political contributions by a foreign national along with solicitation and aiding and abetting the making of the same, conspiring to make straw donations, participating in a wire fraud conspiracy, and making false statements and falsifying records.” Parnas will also pay more than $2 million in restitution.
The charges of making political contributions by a foreign national stem from events that occurred in March 2018. Parnas and other associates wanted to launch a business for getting retail marijuana licenses in the US. The group gave out hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions ahead of the 2018 election to gain favor from anyone who could help Parnas and his associates obtain these licenses.
Parnas and an associate made a $325,000 donation and falsely stated that the donation was from Global Energy Producers (GEP). Parnas also lied about the fact that he was receiving straw donations and the contributions were not with his own money.
The fraud guarantee charges are from between 2012 and 2019. Parnas schemed to defraud multiple people by convincing them to invest in his company. He said the contributions would be used solely for his business. Instead the payments were withdrawn in cash, put into personal bank accounts, and used for personal expenses.
Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, stated “Parnas also defrauded the American public by pumping Russian money into U.S. elections and lying about the source of funds for political contributions. My office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who put their personal and financial gain above their country and their investors.”
The office’s Public Corruption Unit is handling Parnas’s case.