Paul Manafort’s downfall aided by his inability to convert a PDF into a Word doc
It happens to the best of us
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Pretty much everyone can agree that a full understanding of document file types is pretty much rocket science. It’s not clear to anyone except maybe Bill Gates why exactly it’s so difficult to use Microsoft Word to edit a PDF file, and how to go about making changes to said file without routing it through a half-dozen different applications and re-saving it twice as many times.
But whether you’re sending information online regarding your voter registration, or submitting a rental application for an apartment, or creating a fraudulent profit-and-loss statement to receive a loan against properties purchased with unreported overseas funds tied to a Russian oligarch, you may come across the need to perform this complex task — like Paul Manafort did. So it’s no wonder that Manafort — President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager facing 32 counts of tax, financial, and bank fraud in the Mueller probe — fell victim to this age-old technological minefield, as noted first by 技术资讯 今天.
According to the Mueller investigation’s new indictment against Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates, a primary piece of evidence against the duo was a series of emails Manafort sent to Gates containing instructions for Gates to convert a PDF file to a Word document so Manafort could falsify the file’s contents to inflate his income to qualify for a loan.
Manafort allegedly needed the money to purchase expensive homes in New York after former Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovych, for whom Manafort was a political consultant and lobbyist, was forced into exile in Russia during the Ukrainian Revolution. That in turn exhausted one of Manafort’s primary income sources, leading him to allegedly funnel money through offshore accounts and falsify records to take out mortgages for multi-million dollar homes in SoHo and the Hamptons.
Manafort apparently was unable to perform the document conversion himself, and unable to figure out how to edit the PDF directly with the mystic toolset known as Adobe Acrobat. So the trail he created by telling Gates over email to handle the task helped the Mueller investigation unearth the fraud and build a case against the duo.
Of course, to be totally fair, who among us is not guilty of needing to tweak a line or two in a PDF, and turning to a friend for help? So if anyone is to blame here, it’s probably Microsoft.