Former business partner of Giuliani associate gets one year in prison

FILE PHOTO: U.S. businessman David Correia departs after his arraignment at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City
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By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former business partner of Lev Parnas, a onetime associate of Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was sentenced on Monday to one year and a day in prison for duping investors in a start-up insurer and lying to the Federal Election Commission.

David Correia, 45, had pleaded guilty in October to wire fraud conspiracy over his role in Fraud Guarantee, a Florida startup that ostensibly protected consumers from fraud.

Prosecutors said Correia and Parnas conned victims into investing more than $2 million over seven years, but then withdrew much of it for family or personal use.

"It is not just a momentary lapse of judgment," said U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken, who imposed Correia's sentence.

Correia also admitted to making false statements concerning an alleged illegal $325,000 donation that Parnas and Igor Fruman, another Giuliani associate, made to Trump's unsuccessful campaign for a second term as U.S. president.

Prosecutors had sought a 33- to 41-month prison term, but Oetken said the small profit Correia received, and concerns about Correia's health in prison, justified less.

Correia was also ordered to forfeit $43,650, and pay $2.32 million of restitution.

"I feel true remorse for my previous actions," the married father of two said before being sentenced. "These actions do not reflect what I want to be in life and I will never repeat them."

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against Parnas and Correia related to Fraud Guarantee on Thursday.

Giuliani has not been implicated in wrongdoing.

Correia's case was part of a broader prosecution against Parnas and Fruman.

They had worked with Giuliani to dig up damaging information about President Joe Biden, who was then running for the White House, and his son Hunter.

Parnas, who later broke with Giuliani, and Fruman were also charged over a scheme to channel donations to U.S. politicians from a Russian businessman to support a legal marijuana business. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The case is U.S. v. Parnas et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-cr-00725.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)