Flying high again

Sentenced!! Jeffrey Yohai, who is only relevant for a four-year marriage to bumbling fraudster and Trump associate Paul Manafort‘s daughter, picked up a nine year prison term and $6.7 million restitution payment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit (his own separate) bank and wire fraud.

Yohai (above) was out on bond after a 2018 guilty plea including misuse of construction loan funds. While awaiting sentencing,  he ran side projects. Perhaps the most ambitious was a two-tailed investor swindle that reportedly ensnared Hollywood big shot Dustin Hoffman. One on end, Yohai scored $15 million in loans (which he did not repay) to spruce up some Hollywood Hills properties (which he did not own). Then he hoodwinked the real owners into letting him line up rich tenants, pocketed the rent checks, and falsified transfer documentation when the owners demanded payment.

If the victim demanded repayment, Yohai would often buy time by sending checks written on accounts with insufficient funds. When those checks bounced, according to the complaint, Yohai would assert he wired the money back to the victim and send fake wire transfer documentation, “insisting that there must be some banking mistake to explain why the funds never arrive.” [sic]

He also sold “non-existent backstage passes for the Coachella music festival.”

One of the bank fraud convictions for which Papa Paul is currently imprisoned included a dishonest bank loan application with his son, who was not charged on that occasion.

Yohai, a recovering drug addict, also reportedly cheated other abusers. Prosecutors contend that after leaving [rehab], Yohai scammed fellow addicts who paid to live at a “sober living” home he set up in L.A. Yohai allegedly took a $5,000 security deposit from one such man and charged another $35,000 a month “for ‘detox’ care which [Yohai] could not and did not provide.”

Jessica Manafort recently changed her surname (for obvious reasons) to her mother’s maiden name, Bond.

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Scott Warren is back in the news as the Feds attempt to stick the No More Deaths volunteer with his own ten-year stretch on retrial for harboring charges.

Warren allegedly let two undocumented people crossing Arizona’s Sonoran Desert crash at a humanitarian aid workers’ building for a few days. No More Deaths had attracted federal ire by fingering Customs and Border Protection for emptying water jugs left for illegal immigrants. To avoid another hung jury, the government has reportedly filed a motion forbidding the defense from mentioning Trump or his immigration policy at the trial, which would be “irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial.”

“WE DON’T SAY HIS NAME.”

The Intercept notes about 87% of adults surveyed by UCLA/University of Washington, including an overwhelming majority of self-identified Republicans, believe provision of water and first aid to illegal immigrants, of which Warren stands accused, should not be a criminal offense.

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More trouble at the EPA. Instead of destroying the planet, Trump’s infamous deregulation station is reportedly destroying documents. And scandal-plagued ex-chief Scott Pruitt‘s shenanigans may be involved.

Multiple “senior EPA officials” anonymously disputed the shredding allegations to Politico. Documents in question relate to correspondence with a former Comcast lobbyist, Richard Smotkin, who reportedly set up one of Pruitt’s multiple jet-setting trips while in office (Morocco, 2017, over $100,000). Washington Post reported as details leaked last year that Smotkin accompanied Pruitt on the trip, ostensibly to broker a free trade agreement, but to some appearances promoting the sale of U.S. natural gas to Morocco. Smotkin promptly went to work for the Moroccan government.

Though the EPA chief did visit a solar power research installation, he canceled a public appearance with an energy efficiency expert at an international conference in Marrakesh and instead met with the chairman of a large phosphate exporter.

Accused shredder, EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson (below, double chin without glasses) is apparently also not cooperating with an inspector general investigation into how Jackson happened upon the planned Congressional testimony of environmental chemist and former EPA Board of Scientific Counselors chairwoman Deborah Swackhamer in time to harass her before she publicly “criticized the Trump administration’s approach to science.”

Jackson refused to tell IG investigators how he obtained Swackhamer’s testimony in advance, telling them, “I am not going to involve others or point fingers. … Welcome to Washington.”

Current head EPA thug Andrew Wheeler protested that questioning Jackson on the matter “implicates constitutional concerns.” [sic]

Jackson was also reportedly less than forthcoming to IG inquiries into the firing of Pruitt’s aide Madeline Morris for her objections to scrubbing politically sensitive meetings from the official schedule.

As New York Times reported last year, in the final, coal-dark days of Pruitt’s acid rain reign, Jackson waved off the notion Morris was canned for the schedule alterations. Kevin Chmielewski, Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff who fired Morris and dredged up the issue, was himself fired from EPA that year.

Jackson had refused to comment on Morris’s six weeks of salary collection following her dismissal, an arrangement which would break federal law. IG agents dropped in unannounced to further explore this irregularity last July, and not in especially good faith, in Jackson’s opinion.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/paul-manafort-s-ex-son-law-yohai-charged-another-real-n933526
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/16/manafort-jeffrey-yohai-1498903
https://apnews.com/9a368dcf9ca7484e8e40b87780aed174
https://theintercept.com/2019/11/11/immigration-aid-scott-warren-retrial/
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/07/epa-ryan-jackson-documents-investigation-067566
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/lobbyist-helped-broker-pruitts-100000-trip-to-morocco/2018/05/01/b2e20ee0-4d76-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/11/07/top-epa-official-watchdog-engaged-standoff-that-inspector-general-calls-flagrant-problem/
https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/epa-aide-questioned-deleting-pruitt-meeting-details-then-was-fired/