The scrutiny of Fraud Guarantee brings the investigation closer to Giuliani, Trump’s vocal defender, and raises questions about what role the former mayor played, if any, in the marketing of the company. A lawyer for Giuliani said his client never had any conversations about investor pitches or marketing with Parnas or his business partner David Correia.
In the case of Fraud Guarantee, investigators have focused on the marketing pitch, specifically examining whether the men duped investors about the value of the company and how they intended to use the proceeds, the people familiar with the investigation say.
“We have taken into account prosecutors’ statements that they might bring additional charges against Mr. Parnas and others since the inception of this case. We are therefore not surprised, and remain prepared to defend Mr. Parnas against any such charges,” said Joseph Bondy, a lawyer for Parnas.
A spokesman for the US attorney’s office in Manhattan and lawyers for Correia and Fruman declined to comment.
The $500,000 payment to Giuliani for work with Fraud Guarantee came just as Parnas and Fruman began helping Giuliani arrange meetings in Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden, now a Democratic presidential candidate, and press the newly elected president of Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
By 2018, Parnas, Correia and Fruman set up another company, Global Energy Producers, to break into the liquefied natural gas business in Ukraine. They began donating to Republican campaigns and super PACs to gain entry into exclusive dinners, including multiple events that gave them access to Trump.
That year, they crossed paths with Giuliani, who was working on his own investigation in Ukraine for Trump. The former New York City mayor was in the midst of an expensive divorce and was strapped for cash. Giuliani has said he borrowed $100,000 from a friend, which the friend confirms has nearly been paid back in full.
Giuliani’s relationship with Parnas, Fruman and Correia appeared to solidify with the Fraud Guarantee business deal. Parnas and Fruman would go on to help Giuliani in his campaign to remove Yovanovitch in pursuit of a Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens.
Parnas and Correia pitched many wealthy GOP donors in Florida, and ultimately Charles Gucciardo, a Republican donor and plaintiffs’ lawyer, agreed to invest, according to people familiar with their efforts.
Gucciardo provided a $500,000 loan to Fraud Guarantee, his lawyer, Randy Zelin, has previously explained.
“Pursuant to the written agreements Mr. Gucciardo entered into with the Company, his investment, which was and remains a loan to the Company, was paid to Giuliani Partners LLC on the Company’s behalf, pursuant to the Company’s written instructions,” Zelin said in a statement in November.
According to Zelin, Gucciardo signed on with the investment because of Giuliani’s reputation and because Gucciardo believed Giuliani could promote Fraud Guarantee as he had another business, LifeLock, which pitches itself as a way for clients to protect against identity theft.
Gucciardo “believed what Mr. Giuliani did for LifeLock, Mr. Giuliani could and would do for the Company,” Zelin said. He also said the loan could be converted to an equity stake in the business.
Gucciardo and Zelin did not return calls for comment for this story.
But Giuliani never did any public commercials or pitches for Fraud Guarantee, and a person familiar with the company said Giuliani didn’t provide any legal services.
An attorney for Giuliani said the former mayor believed the purpose of Fraud Guarantee was intended to be similar to that of LifeLock and that Giuliani had performed legal work. He also said Giuliani didn’t authorize either Parnas or Correia to make representations about his involvement.