Lev Parnas, an aide to Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment inquiry, was sentenced Wednesday to one year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance offenses. He was also ordered to pay $2.3 million in compensation to his victims.
Parnas, who wasGiuliani reached out to Ukrainian dignitaries as part of a dirt hunt for President Joe Biden’s son, and he sought leniency on the grounds that he aided in a congressional investigation.
But prosecutors said the Soviet-born businessman’s assistance was in response to a subpoena and did not deserve much praise.
Instead, they asked the judge to focus on the jury’s finding that Parnas used the fortunes of a wealthy Russian man to make illegal donations to politicians that might help launch a legal entertainment marijuana business.
Prosecutors had requested that Parnas be sentenced to more than six years.
OctoberHe also backed a finding that he made illegal donations in 2018 to start a new energy company.
In March, Parnas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Internet fraud, pleading that he conspired with another person between 2012 and 2019 to give investors false information about a Florida-based company, the fraud guarantee.
Fraud insurance was promoted as a company that could protect investors from fraud. Giuliani accepted $500,000 from the company to act as a consultant, but he has not been charged with wrongdoing or charged with any crimes.
At the sentencing hearing, Parnas attorney Joseph Bundy recounted the ways he said Parnas worked to become a better person, including seeking religious advice, going to Gamblers Anonymous, and working as a DoorDash driver.
But the state responded that Parnas lied so widely and so widely that his corruption and deception were dangerous, arguing that he did not take full responsibility for his actions in his statements to the court.
Several individuals who have lost money from investing in Parnas Business Ventures have made statements. Charles Guicciardo, a Minola, New York attorney, said he sent $500,000 to an account at Giuliani’s bank to support the fraud insurance business.
He said he doesn’t blame Giuliani for his relationship with a business that he never seemed to start, but instead blames Parnas, saying “Parnas ran out of money and needed to keep his relationship with Giuliani alive.” Gucciardo said that instead of working in the fraud insurance business, “Parnas left the marijuana business in Las Vegas.”
Gucciardo said his family name is now tainted, adding that he is upset that he likely won’t get the money back until his 70s. He said he thought Giuliani might pay him, but said he was still waiting for an apology from Parnas.
Diane Boys, who cried for most of her statement, said Parnas “ruined my life.” Boyce and her husband were not part of the campaign financing case, but they sued Parnas in civil court for years after he failed to pay the money they loaned him to make a movie called “Fatal Anatomy.”
Then sobbing Parnas, who shook his head while some of the victims were talking, apologizing to his victims, sometimes turning around to try to look at them while he spoke.
“I want to apologize to all the victims I injured. These are all my friends, all the people who trusted me and lied to further my personal agenda,” Parnas said.
Next, Parnas turned to confront Gucciardo, and made a straightforward apology.
“I would like to apologize to Mr. Gucciardo. Even though I didn’t spend a single dollar of his money. I lied to him and used our friendship. Charles, I’m sorry,” he said.
The criminal case against Parnas was not directly related to his work as an advocate for Giuliani The former New York City mayor tried to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden’s son, Hunter, before he was elected president.
Giuliani, who was working at the time as President Donald Trump’s personal attorney at the time, said he knew nothing of the Parnas and others’ crimes.
No criminal charges have been brought against the former New York City mayor, but he is being investigated to determine whether he violated a federal law governing lobbying on behalf of foreign states or entities.
In papers in attendance, defense attorneys criticized the plaintiffs for rejecting Parnas’ attempts to cooperate in exchange for leniency in sentencing, saying the government only used Parnas’ statements to “disappoint his potential testimony at trial.”
In a report on their part, prosecutors said they rejected Parnas as a potential collaborator because his information “was not entirely credible and clearly contradicted the evidence in material terms.”
After his 20-month sentence, he will spend three years on supervised release and will be required to attend outpatient mental health services. He is also prohibited from opening new lines of credit unless without the express permission of a probation officer.
Nia Stevens contributed reporting.