Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani when he was the personal attorney for then-President Trump, was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Wednesday. U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken sentenced Parnas on seven counts, most of which stem from his conviction last year on election donation conspiracy charges, reports Courthouse News Service. Parnas pled guilty to another count in connection with misleading investors in his company, named Fraud Guarantee. The Ukraine-born Parnas, 50, asked to serve his term in Otisville Correctional Facility, the medium-security prison in New York state, requested by other Jewish, white-collar criminals like Michael Cohen and Sheldon Silver. His weeklong federal trial in October 2021 described a scheme through which Parnas and co-defendant Andrey Kukushkin, 49, facilitated and concealed illegal political donations in U.S. elections that were funded by wealthy Russian businessman Andrey Muraviev.
Parnas choked up at the courtroom lectern while apologizing directly to victims of his various frauds, saying, “I never knew that I was doing wrong … I always thought I was going to do the right thing.” Tearfully, he described soul searching aided by Gamblers Anonymous and counseling from his rabbi. The government’s six-count indictment accused Parnas and Kukushkin of funneling $1 million of foreign funds from Muraviev in two $500,000 political contributions as part of an effort to expand his foothold on legal marijuana businesses in the U.S. While somewhere between $100,000 to $200,000 was actually used for campaign contributions, Oetken noted that the amount relevant to the conspiracy conviction was the plan to receive $1 million to influence and obstruct U.S. elections. Parnas pleaded guilty in March to the charge of misleading potential investors to invest in Fraud Guarantee, the same company Parnas used to hire Giuliani in a relationship that has drawn scrutiny from federal prosecutors.