On Friday, Cindy Laporta, a longtime accountant for Paul Manafort, admitted to helping Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, falsify financial documents in an effort to commit tax fraud.
In one notable exchange, Asonye asked Laporta to describe a conference call in September 2015.
During the conference call, Laporta said Gates asked Manafort’s tax preparers to alter the amount of a loan so that Manafort would owe less in income taxes.
Specifically, Laporta testified that Gates said Manafort’s tax bill was “too high” and that Manafort “didn’t have the money” to pay it.
“He was trying to reduce income and therefore, income taxes,” Laporta said, adding that she believed such conduct was “inappropriate.”
But Conor O’Brien, then an employee at the firm KWC, suggested in an email the prosecution displayed that “the loan amount may need to be changed.”
Laporta testified that they all ultimately decided to decrease the loan amount by $900,000 on Manafort’s 2014 tax returns before submitting his 2015 one.
Laporta, who was granted immunity, testified that she changed the loan amount but “very much” regretted her actions. She said the altered loan meant Manafort owed $400,000 to $500,000 less in taxes in 2015.
The day after the tax return was filed, Gates emailed Laporta a Word document version of a loan agreement dated March 16, 2014 between Davis Manafort Partners International and a company called Telmar Limited. The prosecution alleges that Telmar is a company located in Cyprus that Manafort controls.
Laporta testified that the 2014 loan agreement “didn’t exist before the conversation” she had with Gates in 2015.
The document had Manafort’s signature.
Laporta also testified to several other instances of tax and bank fraud involving Manafort and Gates, several of which she was complicit in, at least in part.