Linked – How Manafort’s inability to convert a PDF file to Word helped prosecutors

This is just dumb:

“Manafort emailed Gates a .pdf version of the real 2016 DMI P&L, which showed a loss of more than $600,000,” the indictment claims. “Gates converted that .pdf into a Word document so that it could be edited, which Gates sent back to Manafort. Manafort altered the Word document by adding more than $3.5 million in income.”

Then, according to the indictment, Manafort “sent this falsified P&L to Gates and asked that the Word document be converted back to a .pdf, which Gates did and returned to Manafort.”

By sending these documents back and forth by email, Manafort and Gates made it easy for prosecutors to pinpoint exactly who changed the documents and when.”

But, from an eDiscovery perspective it’s interesting. Note how the actual documents used would not have pointed to any of this because they were PDFs with no real metadata that could have tracked this behavior. They likely could have seemed suspicious based on when the PDF was created/modified but there may not have been much to go on.

Instead, the real damning stuff was found in the email communications between the two.

That’s always been where the good stuff is, but as more and more collaboration tools get used to communicate among team members, I wonder if that will stay true much longer?


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