Accountant testifies she helped Manafort falsify tax returns


Prosecutors are looking to present Gates as Manafort's accomplice in a scheme to evade the IRS and defraud banks. Another warned he needed cash to pay property taxes.

Laporta said she knew it was "inappropriate" but agreed to alter the records to show that Manafort's firm received a $900,000 loan from Telmar in 2014, a change that would save Manafort almost a half million dollars in taxes, Laporta said.

Laporta said she felt regret as soon as the return was filed.

"In other words, Mueller could have indicted the leading edge, perhaps to convince Manafort to cooperate with him down the road", she said.

Laporta noted that each year she requested information - in writing - regarding any potential foreign bank accounts.

Ultimately, she listed the loan at $900,000, but prosecutors didn't disclose the original amount.

Laporta went on to say she could have called Manafort and Gates liars, but said Manafort was "a longtime client".

Ms Laporta said Mr Manafort had likely saved up to $500,000 in taxes in 2015.

Laporta also testified about two additional loans for a combined $1 million that she said had no supporting documentation. Instead, she wrote a letter including "what I knew had happened", she testified.

In her separate involvement in a 2015 loan application for Manafort, she told the court that she forwarded information to Citizens Bank supporting the classification of one of Manafort's NY homes as a "second residence", knowing that it had been used a rental property. Washkuhn was also shown a financial document sent to a bank. U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye asked Laporta.

"Did you believe those representations?" Ellis said. She said she knew it was false "because of the date".

The proceedings ended before Manafort attorney Kevin Downing could cross-examine her. But Manafort was copied in on several emails discussing the matter.

One of Mueller's leading cases involves 12 Russian military intelligence officers who were accused of hacking and leaking Democratic party documents in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election.

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Still, Trump has made clear his interest in the case, suggesting in a tweet last week that Manafort was being treated worse than gangster Al Capone. He wanted to send it to Federal Savings Bank, LaPorta said.

Ms. LaPorta testified she didn't pushback against Mr. Manafort because she feared initiating a legal fight with Mr. Manfaort or upsetting one of the firm's most important clients.

Mr Manafort is facing charges of bank fraud, tax fraud, and failing to report foreign bank accounts. It's the first courtroom test of special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which is looking into Russia's efforts to interfere with the 2016 US election and whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Kremlin to sway voters.

Paul Manafort's longtime bookkeeper is testifying that profit and loss statements the former Trump campaign chairman submitted to obtain bank loans contained false information - and, at times, obvious misspellings.

That investigation remains ongoing, and this week's financial fraud trial is not tied to collusion.

Washkuhn also detailed how after Manafort's political consulting money from Ukraine stopped rolling in, around 2015, he and his company began piling up debt and financial woes.

Paul Manafort told tax preparers on multiple occasions that he didn't control any foreign bank accounts.

At the courthouse, where Manafort is fighting 18 counts of tax and bank fraud, the jury of six men and six women heard from a parade of witnesses who sold Manafort clothes, a home, and home renovations.

Gates is Manafort's business associate. Their testimony directly addressed the bank and tax fraud charges the government has brought against Manafort.

"None", Ayliff said, as the exercise was repeated five times.

"Paul Manafort did not create this arrangement, and he was certainly not trying to mislead or defraud the Internal Revenue Service, " Zehnle said.

A group of witnesses testified about Manafort's lavish lifestyle.