NEW YORK — The fourth suspect still at large in an alleged conspiracy scheme involving associates of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday.
FBI agents took David Correia into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City around 10:30 a.m., the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York confirmed.
Correia surrendered after returning to the U.S., a law enforcement official said. The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said investigators had been in touch with Corriea’s representatives while the 44-year-old Florida resident was out of the country and had arranged for the surrender.
He is expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court Wednesday, said Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office. The other defendants, Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, as well as Andrey Kukushkin, a California resident, are expected to appear for initial hearings in the same courthouse on Thursday.
Correia, a 44-year-old Florida resident, was the only one of four co-defendants who was not arrested Oct. 10, when federal prosecutors announced the charges.
Correia is the only one of the co-defendants who was born in the United States, the indictment shows. Parnas and Kukushkin are U.S. citizens who were born in Ukraine, and Fruman is a U.S. citizen who was born in Belarus, the indictment said.
The co-defendants are accused of illegally funneling thousands of dollars in foreign money to U.S. election candidates and committees in an effort to buy influence.
Parnas and Fruman helped Rudy Giuliani meet a Ukrainian prosecutor as the president's personal lawyer pushed for an investigation into Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Both of the men are among prospective witnesses House Democrats want to question in their impeachment inquiry.
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Scheme focused on cannabis licenses, Trump PAC
The indictment also alleges that Parnas, Fruman, Correia and Kukushkin schemed with an unidentified foreign national who is a Russian citizen to get retail marijuana licenses in U.S. states, including Nevada.
In or around September and October 2018, prosecutors allege, Correia drafted a table of prospective political donations. The table allegedly described a multistate licensing strategy that would funnel $1 million to $2 million in contributions to federal and state political committees.
The plan allegedly included a funding schedule of two $500,000 transfers. The foreign national arranged for the funds to be wired on or around Sept. 18, 2018, and Oct. 16, 2018, from overseas accounts to a U.S. corporate bank account controlled by Fruman and another individual,” the indictment charges.
The alleged conspirators are accused of taking steps to hide the foreign national’s involvement and role in the funding. In Kukushkin's words, hiding the foreign national's role was necessary because of "his Russian roots and current political paranoia about it," the indictment says.
Parnas and Fruman, who live in Florida and have family and business ties to Ukraine, have become political players in recent years.
In May 2018, Parnas posted pictures on Facebook of himself and Fruman with Trump in the White House and with the president's son Donald Jr. in California. That was the same month their company, Global Energy Producers, was credited with giving $325,000 to the committee that supports Trump's reelection, America First Action SuperPac.
Prosecutors allege Parnas and Fruman created that company and “intentionally caused certain large contributions to be reported in the name of GEP instead of their own names,” the indictment says.
Among their beneficiaries, according to court documents, was a U.S. congressman who received $5,400 last year from the pair who also pledged to raise $20,000 for the lawmaker as they sought to enlist him in an effort to remove Marie Yovanovitch as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
That congressman is former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who wrote a letter last year to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging Yovanovitch's ouster. Sessions previously said he didn't know about the scheme and would donate the money to charity.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Sessions said he is cooperating with federal prosecutors in New York and would supply documents they sought regarding the campaign contributions.
Correia, Parnas ran company that aimed to reduce risk of fraud
Correia and Parnas are founders and executives of Fraud Guarantee, a Florida company whose website says was founded “to help reduce the risk of fraud as well as mitigate the damage caused by fraudulent acts.”
The website identifies Correia as the company’s co-founder and chief operating officer. A brief business biography on the website characterizes him as a “lifelong entrepreneur” who worked in the commercial mortgage and lending industry. He contributed to the restructuring of the investor relations department of a publicly-traded medical staffing company, the website says.
Earlier in his business career, Correia owned, operated and successfully sold restaurants, and then invested in Philadelphia residential real estate, the website says.
An archived version of Correia’s since-deleted Twitter feed shows his apparent support for Giuliani and Trump.
On April 25, he retweeted a tweet by John Solomon, a columnist for The Hill, about Solomon's report that said the White House under President Barack Obama engaged Ukraine to boost a narrative about suspected Russia "collusion" with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation concluded that Russia ran a "sweeping and systematic" campaign to help Trump win the White House. While the report said Trump campaign aides were eager for any Russian dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, it concluded that neither Trump nor his campaign conspired with Russia to win the election.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fourth suspect surrenders in campaign finance probe involving Giuliani associates