Defendant pleads guilty in Rudy Giuliani associates’ case

Larry Neumeister
Associated Press

New York – Prosecutors secured a guilty plea Thursday from a Florida businessman who hired one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, to lend credibility to a supposedly fraud-busting company authorities say was a fraud itself.

The plea by David Correia, 45, a former golf professional, came to charges of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and wire fraud conspiracy. It occurred in a remote appearance before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan. Sentencing was set for Feb. 8.

In this Oct. 17, 2019 file photo, David Correia walks from federal court in New York.

The wire fraud plea pertained to a business named Fraud Guarantee, a Florida-based business formed in 2013 to protect investors against fraud. As part of the plea, Correia agreed that federal sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of about three years in prison.

The charge directly related to Fraud Guarantee was added last month to a broader criminal case against two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who worked with Giuliani to try to get Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

As he entered his plea in a video conference held because of the pandemic, Correia admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong when he committed the crimes.

Parnas and Fruman, along with Correia and a fourth defendant, were charged with making illegal contributions to politicians they thought could aid their political and business interests. Giuliani has said he knew nothing about contributions. He has not been charged. Parnas and Fruman have pleaded not guilty.

Correia and Parnas agreed to pay Giuliani, a Republican former New York City mayor, a $500,000 consulting fee to work with Fraud Guarantee.

Correia, who owns a home with his wife in West Palm Beach, Florida, is the only American-born defendant in the case.