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Convicted Ponzi schemer freed by Trump charged with “brazen and sophisticated” $35 million fraud

The convicted Ponzi schemer who was granted clemency by former President Donald Trump in one of his final acts in office was hit with a new set of fraud charges after allegedly scamming investors in a series of fake deals. Eliyahu Weinstein, 48, was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice on Wednesday along with four other men for defrauding at least 150 people out of $35 million, The New York Times reports.

The group is accused of leading people to believe they were making lucrative investments in limited COVID-19 supplies and baby formula as well as first-aid kits intended for Ukraine. “These were brazen and sophisticated crimes that involved multiple conspirators and drew right from Weinstein’s playbook of fraud,” New Jersey U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger said at a press conference. Weinstein was ordered to be detained after his Wednesday appearance at a federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, alongside one of his co-defendants.

Weinstein was serving a 24-year prison term in relation to two schemes — one of which involved him scamming members of his close-knit Orthodox Jewish community out of over $200 million — when Trump commuted his sentence in January 2021 and freed him. According to the Times, the former used car salesman from Lakewood, New Jersey, was one of many who received clemency by skirting official processes and instead relying on influential lobbyists and attorneys to gain reprieve. 


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