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Press Release

Final Defendant in International Credit Card Scheme with 71 Shell Companies and Moscow Connections Sentenced to Over 24 Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

Aleksandr Maslov, 40, of Sacramento, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to 24 years and four months in prison, for his involvement in an international credit card fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to evidence presented in the trials of his co-defendants and in court documents, between approximately Oct. 5, 2011, and March 5, 2014, Maslov conspired with Rouslan Kirilyuk, 43, of Los Angeles; Mihran Melkonyan, 41, of Sacramento; Rouslan Akhmerov, 46, of Studio City; and others in a massive credit card billing scheme that involved working with Moscow‑based hackers to create approximately 71 fraudulent online companies established with the sole purpose of fraudulently charging approximately 119,000 stolen credit card numbers. In total, the members of the scheme billed the stolen credit card numbers for over $3.4 million in unauthorized charges.

To create the fraudulent companies, the members of the scheme obtained over 200 stolen report cards from the San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento. Those report cards had students’ personally identifiable information (PII) on them including names and social security numbers. Using that personal identity information, Kirilyuk and his associates created fraudulent companies with names designed to sound like real companies, such as “CVS Store,” “Walt Mart,” and “Chevran.”

Working with at least one hacker based in Moscow, Maslov and his conspirators used those fraudulent companies to charge stolen American Express credit card account numbers. To transfer the stolen money, they used shell bank accounts held in the names of individuals whose identities had been stolen and accounts in the names of former Russian J-1 Student Visa holders who had returned to Russia after opening multiple bank accounts in California.

The members of the conspiracy also used numerous runners in the Los Angeles area to withdraw money in the form of cash. The conspirators then sent a portion of the stolen money to Moscow, using prepaid debit cards and by hiding cash inside of items shipped through the mail. According to court documents, Maslov’s co-defendant, Kirilyuk has a history of corporate cyber-intrusion dating back to at least 2003.

Maslov, Kirilyuk and Melkonyan all fled to avoid prosecution. Kirilyuk was apprehended in Mexico and arrested by FBI agents after being flown to San Francisco. Melkonyan was apprehended in California after re-entering the United States. Maslov was apprehended in Virginia.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sacramento Field Division with assistance from FBI’s Los Angeles Field Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Anderson and Heiko P. Coppola prosecuted the case.

In trial on Feb. 15, 2017, Melkonyan was found guilty of 24 counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud charged against him related to the scheme. He was sentenced on January 4, 2019, to 19 years and two months in prison.

In trial, on Feb. 26, 2019, Kirilyuk was found guilty of 24 counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of failure to appear. He was sentenced on Dec. 6, 2019, to 27 years in prison.

On Dec. 15, 2014, Akhmerov pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud for his participation in the scheme and was sentenced to time served.

Updated August 1, 2022

Financial Fraud