Former US President and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures about weightlifting at the Republican Volunteer Recruitment Event at Farbent, Calvary Chapel, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 8, 2023.
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WASHINGTON — A New Jersey man receives a reduced prison sentence for running a massive pyramid scheme. donald trump On Wednesday, he was charged with orchestrating a similar plot on the last day of his presidency.
Eli Weinstein and four accomplices being accused Prosecutors are overseeing a new Ponzi scheme that defrauded 150 victims of more than $35 million.
Weinstein is currently indicted three times for defrauding investors.
The first was in 2013, when he pleaded guilty to 45 counts of fraud and conspiracy for stealing more than $200 million from investors. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to a second lawsuit, this time for committing wire fraud during a pyramid scheme trial.
Weinstein was serving eight years of his 24-year prison sentence when he was pardoned in 2021, as one of 143 people pardoned or commuted during Trump’s final term.
His release ended a costly lobbying effort to persuade people close to Trump, including attorney Alan Dershowitz, that Weinstein never got a fair trial.
A campaign calling on President Trump to pardon Weinstein later made headlines. New York Times articleThe article details how Weinstein’s allies paid for access to various Trump insiders.
On the day of the commutation, the White House described Weinstein as “a father of seven children and a loving husband.”
An official statement about his commutation said, “If released, he will receive strong support from his community and religious circles.”
At a press conference Wednesday announcing the latest charges, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said, “Weinstein picked up where he left off and used a web of lies and deception to steal millions of dollars from investors.”
according to criminal complaintWeinstein and his accomplices set up a fake investment fund, telling prospective investors that the money would be used to “invest in lucrative deals including, among others, COVID-19 masks, scarce baby formula and first aid kits for Ukraine.”
Weinstein used the name “Mike Koenig” when communicating with investors to hide his identity and criminal record.
In addition to filing criminal charges against Weinstein, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday, filed a civil lawsuit against him and five other alleged co-conspirators.
“Time and again, the defendants extorted money from unsuspecting investors with bogus transactions, shuffled the funds and forced previous investors to pay them, giving the false impression that they were receiving real profits from the bogus trades,” SEC New York bureau chief Antonia Ups said in a statement Wednesday.