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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Friday, December 6, 2019

Los Angeles Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Scheme to Defraud American Express and Account Holders Nationwide

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. sentenced Ruslan Kirilyuk, 41, of Beverly Hills, to 27 years in prison for his involvement in an international credit card fraud scheme targeting card holders nationwide, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to evidence presented at trial, between October 5, 2011, and March 5, 2014, Kirilyuk conspired with Mihran Melkonyan, 39, of Sacramento; Rouslan Akhmerov, 45, of Studio City; Alexandr Maslov, 38, of Sacramento, and others in a credit card billing scheme that involved creating 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.

As established at trial, 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’ personal identifying information on them such as names and social security numbers. Using that 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 a hacker based in Moscow, they used those fraudulent companies to charge stolen American Express credit card account numbers. In order to transfer the stolen money, they used shell bank accounts held in the names of individuals whose identities had been stolen and former Russian J-1 visa holders. According to court documents, Kirilyuk has a history of corporate cyberintrusion dating back to at least 2003.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Anderson prosecuted the case.

In an earlier trial, on February 15, 2017, Melkonyan was found guilty of all 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.

On December 15, 2014, Akhmerov pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud for his participation in the scheme. He is set to be sentenced on December 13, 2019.

Maslov is pending trial with a status conference scheduled for January 31, 2020. The charges against him are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 
2:14-cr-083 GEB
Updated December 6, 2019