Paul Manafort got caught allegedly committing bank fraud because he didn't know how to convert a PDF to a Word document

  • Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort appeared to have difficulty converting a Microsoft Word document into a PDF, and it was one of the ways investigators found out about his alleged attempts to commit bank fraud.  
  • According to email exchanges cited by special counsel Robert Mueller's office, Manafort asked his longtime associate Rick Gates multiple times to convert falsified financial records into different file formats. 
  • Those exchanges are now being used by Mueller as evidence of Manafort's and Gates' illegal activities. 

Investigators were tipped off, in part, about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's illicit activities because he appeared not to know how to convert a PDF document to a Word document. 

On Thursday, special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 US election, charged Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates in a superseding indictment of financial crimes and misconduct related to tax and bank fraud.

At one point, according to the indictment, the pair allegedly emailed back and forth in October 2016 while conspiring to commit bank fraud.

12 PHOTOS
Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
See Gallery
Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort speaks at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign manager Paul Manafort (C) and daughter Ivanka (R) look on during Trump's walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort appears at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort talks to the media from the Trump family box on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, smiles as he talks with other Trump campaign staff after Trump spoke to supporters following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's senior campaign adviser Paul Manafort (L) walks into a reception with former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort listens to Ivanka Trump speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: A man with a security credential takes a selfie at the podium as Donald Trump, flanked by campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka, checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 19: Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Paul Manafort., Convention Manager, Trump Campaign, appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday April 10, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NA.R.DoleMicCk1.081596.RG.Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks up from podium at balloons and television cameras as convention center manager Paul Manafort, at right, points out preparations for tonight's acceptance speech in San Diego, 08/15/96. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, young Republicans political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo by Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

As he was preparing a profit-and-loss (P&L) statement to submit to a bank lender in an effort to secure a loan, Manafort allegedly inflated his income so he could more easily qualify for loans to his company, Davis Manafort Partners, Inc.

The indictment claims Manafort first sent a PDF version of the real P&L statement to Gates and asked for his help in converting the file to a Word document so it could be edited. Gates allegedly converted the file and sent the Word document back to Manafort so he could make changes to it. Manafort then took out a portion of the statement showing a loss of more than $600,000 and replaced it with one fraudulently showing he profited with more than $3.5 million in income.

Manafort sent the edited Word document back to Gates and "asked that the 'Word' document be converted back to a .pdf, which Gates did and returned to Manafort," the indictment said.

The entire exchange occurred over email, giving investigators a clear paper trail to follow as they uncovered exactly how and when Manafort and Gates attempted to commit fraud.

"Fraud 101 — don't send emails to your co-conspirators," the longtime former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Cramer previously told Business Insider. "I imagine the investigators saw those and couldn't believe their luck."

Mueller's office alleges that more than $75 million flowed through Manafort's and Gates's offshore accounts, and that Manafort laundered over $18 million in undisclosed income with Gates's assistance. Gates was accused of laundering about $3 million. 

Gates pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts related to conspiracy against the US and making false statements to investigators during the course of the Russia investigation. 

9 PHOTOS
Richard Gates, business associate of Paul Manafort
See Gallery
Richard Gates, business associate of Paul Manafort
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse following a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: Richard Gates (C) leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were indicted on charges that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse after a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: Richard Gates (C) arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner Paul Manafort were indicted on charges that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Court Building for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Court Building for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Manafort, meanwhile, has maintained his innocence. 

"I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence," Manafort said in a statement through his spokesperson following Gates's guilty plea. "For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise. This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me."

NOW WATCH: How to make America great — according to one of the three cofounders of Black Lives Matter

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Paul Manafort took a big shot at Rick Gates after he flipped and agreed to cooperate with Mueller

DON'T MISS: Rick Gates' guilty plea could be the nail in the coffin for Paul Manafort's defense strategy in the Russia investigation

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.