United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Oregon Man Who Preyed On Russian Immigrants With Student Loan Scam Sentenced To 4+Years In Prison
Promoted Student Loans to Those with Financial Problems; Nearly $1 Million in Bank Fraud
A 35-year-old Oregon man was sentenced yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 54 months in prison and five years of supervised release for bank fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. ALEXANDER VENIAMIN SVIRIDIUK of Happy Valley, Oregon, was the leader of a scheme to profit by submitting fraudulent applications for student loans. In August 2013, U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle will hold a second hearing to determine the amount of restitution SVIRIDIUK will be required to pay. The loss amount from the scheme exceeds $900,000.
According to records filed in the case, SVIRIDIUK advertised in the Russian immigrant community that he could assist people facing financial difficulties. SVIRIDIUK advised the immigrants they could get cash by applying for student loans, without any need to actually go to college. Using the immigrant’s personal information, SVIRIDIUK and his cousin would apply for student loans stating that the immigrant planned to attend either Washington State University or University of California at Irvine. SVIRIDIUK would set up an email account in the immigrant’s name, and register them for college classes at WSU or UC Irvine. The email registration would be used to convince the bank funding the loan that the person was enrolling in school. After the loan was approved, and the money delivered, the student would quickly withdraw from the university. SVIRIDIUK took a percentage of the loan funds, and sometimes additional fees as well. Between March and August of 2008, SVIRIDIUK submitted 55 student loan applications and 29 were funded for a total of $932,630. To date, the bank has only been able to recover about $30,000.
SVIRIDIUK and his cousin, Natalya Sviridiuk were indicted in December 2011. The cousin pleaded guilty in February 2012 and will be sentenced next month. SVIRIDIUK was convicted in October 2012 following a five day jury trial.
In asking for a significant prison term, prosecutors noted that SVIRIDIUK recruited clients from as far away as California and Colorado. “Sviridiuk involved numerous other individuals in his scheme and forever changed many of their lives. While some of his clients undoubtedly knew, or at least suspected, that what they were doing was wrong, it is equally clear that many did not. These individuals, many with a limited ability to read and speak English, put their trust in him. As a member of their community, they relied upon him and his expertise to help them. Instead, he took advantage of them,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney C. Andrew Colasurdo and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute cases in federal court.