Five Foreign Nationals Indicted on Murder-For-Hire, Money Laundering, and Immigration Charges
RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned a superseding indictment charging five foreign nationals with various federal crimes stemming from a bribery and kickback scheme, including money laundering, immigration fraud, and a subsequent murder for hire plot.
Leonid Teyf, 57, currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina, is charged with bribing a public official, planning a murder-for-hire, and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number, and unlawful use of a visa procured through false claims.
Teyf is also charged with multiple counts of money laundering in conspiracy with his wife, Tatyana Teyf, 41, a Russian citizen, and Alexsy Timofeev, 37, also a Russian citizen currently residing in Darien, Illinois. Teyf, Tatyana Teyf, and Timofeev are additionally charged with Timofeev’s wife, Olesya Yuryevna Timofeeva, 41, for conspiring, and aiding and abetting one another to encourage and induce an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law. Alexei Polyakov, 40, currently residing in Raleigh, North Carolina, is also charged in the indictment with attempting to obtain naturalization through false statements.
The superseding indictment alleges that between 2010 and 2012, Leonid Teyf was the Deputy Director of Voentorg, a company which contracted with Russia’s Ministry of Defense to provide the Russian military with goods and services. Leonid Teyf arranged for subcontractors in Russia to fill the various services required by Voentorg’s contract. Leonid Teyf and others devised a scheme requiring the subcontractor to agree that a certain percentage of the government funds it would receive for completion of the work would be paid back to Leonid Teyf and others involved in the scheme. These kickbacks of government funds were paid in cash and amounted to more than $150 million over an approximate two-year span. Some of the money was paid to others involved in the scheme, and some of the money was placed in accounts under Leonid Teyf’s control – accounts within Russia, and, ultimately accounts located in the United States.
The superseding indictment additionally alleges that since at least December 2010, Leonid and Tatyana Teyf and others have opened at least 70 financial accounts at four financial institutions in their own names and in the names of businesses under their control. Leonid Teyf and others received at least 294 wires totaling approximately $39.5 million into four accounts held in Leonid Teyf’s name and the names of the co-conspirators at an American banking institution. Foreign corporations and bank accounts in countries commonly known to be used for money laundering are the source of 293 of the wires. Timofeev assisted Leonid Teyf in the formation of companies in the United States, including the creation of CTK Transportation Incorporated in Illinois, a business used in the money laundering scheme. Timofeev was involved in multiple financial transactions involving the kickbacks from Russia.
The superseding indictment also alleges that in July of 2018, Teyf knowingly used and possessed a U.S. immigrant visa at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which he had procured through false claims made in his I-140 application. To obtain that visa Teyf falsely claimed that he was entering the U.S. for the purpose of being an executive employee of a multinational company, and for whom he would earn an annual salary of $110,000.
Similarly, in 2016, an associate of Teyf, Alexei Polyakov, also made false statements in an effort to obtain immigration benefits. Polyakov falsely completed the Form N-400, application for naturalization, by failing to assert under penalty of perjury 1) that he had previously use the name “Alex Norka,” 2) that he had been arrested on at least 12 occasions in addition to the five reported occasions, and 3) by falsely underreporting the time he had spent in jail prior to the application.
As alleged in publicly available documents filed in federal court by the Government, during the course of the investigation into the money laundering charges, a Confidential Source utilized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned that Leonid Teyf came to believe that his wife, Tatyana Teyf, was having an affair with another man. Leonid Teyf recruited the Confidential Source to assist in planning for the man’s murder. The murder was to take place here in the United States or in Russia after they conspired to have the man deported. Leonid Teyf paid an employee with the United States Department of Homeland Security, who was working undercover, $10,000 to have the man deported from the United States. When the deportation plan was taking a longer period of time than he expected, Leonid Teyf returned to his murder-for-hire plan and paid the Confidential Source $25,000 to kill the man before the end of 2018. Leonid Teyf also supplied the Confidential Source with a firearm to commit the murder with the serial number removed from the weapon.
If convicted, Leonid Teyf would face maximum penalties of 20 years in prison. Tatyana Teyf, Alexsy Timofeev, Olesya Timofeeva, and Alexei Polyakov would face maximum penalties of 10 years in prison. The government will also seek to seize over $39 million in assets from the defendants. Each defendant will likely face the prospect of removal from the United States after their terms of imprisonment.
The charges and allegations contained in the superseding indictment, and related documents filed by the Government, are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Immigration and Custom Enforcement and the Raleigh Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Kellhofer and Barbara Kocher.