(Bloomberg) -- Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law has pleaded guilty in a fraud investigation and is cooperating with government investigators, according to a person familiar with the probe.
Jeffrey Yohai, who was divorced last year from Manafort’s daughter, pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles federal court in January, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
Yohai’s real estate transactions have been under investigation by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, people familiar with the matter have said. His ex-father-in-law Manafort, who was Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, faces trials for money laundering, tax fraud and bank fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
While some of Yohai’s deals received substantial funding from the Manafort family, it isn’t clear whether his cooperation is related to Manafort or Mueller’s probe. Reuters, which first reported Yohai’s plea deal and cooperation, reported that he pleaded guilty to misusing construction loan funds and to a count related to a bank account overdraft.
An attorney who has represented Yohai, Aaron May, declined to comment.
Yohai began his real estate career in 2011 as an agent in New York City, according to a LinkedIn page for one of his companies, Marin West. His goal in California was to build new homes and restore older ones “while preserving the glamour of L.A.’s early 20th Century Golden Age.”
Starting in 2014, limited liability corporations controlled by Yohai bought four properties in Los Angeles, including a $7.5 million house on Blue Jay Way that Yohai planned to tear down and replace with a $30 million mansion, according to court records. The actor Dustin Hoffman and his son invested $3 million in that property, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
Manafort, his wife, Kathleen, and daughter Jessica provided loans to several of the projects from 2014 to 2016. The biggest was $2.7 million to a Yohai-controlled limited-liability corporation that purchased a house in Bel-Air in early 2016 for $8.5 million, records show.
The Manaforts’ investments, totaling more than $4 million, appeared to have been lost after entities tied to the Yohai properties filed for bankruptcy, Manafort’s attorney said last fall. He couldn’t be reached Thursday for comment.
Manafort, 69, is a well-known Republican political strategist who has also represented foreign politicians, helping them with election strategy and their image in Washington.
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