The Robert Mueller investigation is getting quite the bang for its buck with the ongoing Paul Manafort fraud trial. Mueller hit the jackpot when he received financial materials which illustrated how Manafort and his cronies, at home and abroad, were pulling off their money laundering, bank fraud and tax evasion schemes. If Mueller were looking for a modus operandi, it sounds like Manafort and Rick Gates may have provided Mueller’s team with one, along with a renewed sense of direction.
The Manafort trial is on day six and the defense cross-examined Rick Gates and tried to destroy his credibility since he was stealing from Manafort and cheated on his marriage. But who are we kidding? In an era where materialism is practically worshipped, Manafort’s wardrobe and shopping habits could earn him a chair on the set of Dr. Phil, if he weren’t otherwise inconvenienced by a little thing called the justice system. In other words, Manafort’s credibility was already in short supply, so therefore Gates’ own reputation can’t hurt the prosecution’s case too much.
The more information Mueller obtains, the more a pattern may emerge regarding the methods employed by Russia and other associated money laundering operations. It is looking more and more likely that Russia, The Republican Party, Trump and his cronies, could form a wide network of illegal and fraudulent organized activity. Rick Gates has confirmed a variety of detailed fraudulent activity directed by Manafort.
One of the ways Manafort underreported and lied about his income is that he listed money received as loans instead of listing it as a lump sum payment or as monthly income. Now, Michael Cohen’s finances are being investigated, and guess what they are looking for? Any loans Cohen may have applied for that were not really loans but undisclosed payments instead. Therefore, is it any surprise that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and self-proclaimed “fixer” is now being investigated for tax fraud as well?
Cohen is not being met with any bank fraud charges right now, but the fact that they are looking tells us that they now have a modus operandi and will look at all associated discoverable bank and tax materials with such red flags in mind going forward. In the end, it will be interesting to see if there is any honor among these thieves or if they are more interested in covering their assets.