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Banker Sentenced to Prison in Manafort Real Estate Scheme

A Chicago banker was sentenced to a year in prison for a scheme to make $16 million in loans to Paul Manafort to gain influence in the Trump administration, the Associated Press reports. Manafort served as a campaign manager to former President Trump from June to early August 2016. The banker, Stephen Calk, was convicted last year in Manhattan federal court on financial institution bribery and conspiracy charges. Before hearing the sentence, Calk, 57. told the judge that the case has left his life “in shambles.” During a three-week trial, prosecutors said Calk played a pivotal role in getting approval for a $9.5 million real estate construction loan and another $6.5 million loan so Manafort could finish construction on a Brooklyn condominium.

Defense attorney Paul Schoeman argued for a non-prison sentence for Calk, calling him “a good and decent man who led a law-abiding life. ... It’s an aberration that he’s in this courtroom.” Prosecutors argued Calk deserved a term of up to five years. They said he “corruptly abused” his position as chief executive of The Federal Savings Bank to make $16 million in unsound loans to Manafort in exchange for Manafort’s help in securing political power. Judge Lorna Schofield told Calk she needed put him behind bars to send the message that “no one is above the law, regardless of their wealth and influence.” The judge added one day to the one-year term — a modification that could qualify him for time off his sentence for good behavior.


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