Fifth Defendant Sentenced in Extortion Case Involving Shopping Mall Kiosk Operators
Las Vegas, Nev. – A California man was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison today and ordered to pay a $12,500 fine for attempting to extort money and ownership of a shopping mall kiosk business from two former business partners, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Moshe Barmuha, 38 of Studio City, California, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt. Barmuha pleaded guilty on April 15, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats and violence and one count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering as part of a group plea agreement. The sentence included an enhancement for prior violent crime convictions that Barmuha had accrued in Israel. The co-defendants charged in the case, Yakov Cohen, of Las Vegas, Ruslan Magomedgadzhiev and Murad Magomedgadzhiev, of Tarzana, California, and Lior Zaken, of Studio City, California, also pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison earlier this year.
From about September 2009 to April 5, 2010, the defendants conspired and attempted to extort money from two men, identified in the court papers as M.O. and M.K., through force, violence, and fear. In July 2007, M.O. and M.K. operated several kiosks in Las Vegas-area casinos and shopping malls at which they sold electronic products such as hands-free microphones. In early 2008, M.O. and M.K. began expanding their business to include retail women's cosmetics and skin care products, and entered into a partnership with Cohen, a competitor who also operated kiosks in Las Vegas-area casinos and malls. During the next year, the men got into a business dispute, and M.O. and M.K. alleged that Cohen was stealing and cheating them and terminated their business relationship with him. Following this dispute, the defendants began threatening M.O. and M.K. and attempted to extort money from them. In September and October 2009, Barmuha and Cohen threatened M.O. and M.K. personally and by telephone. In January 2010, Barmuha, Cohen and Zaken hired Ruslan and Murad Magomedgadzhiev to "strong-arm" M.K. On January 8, 2010, the Magomedgadzhiev's physically assaulted M.K. while he was walking to his vehicle, causing a serious head injury to him.
The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, FBI, DEA, and the Los Angeles Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly M. Frayn.