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Press Release

Russian National Sentenced to 5 Years and Deportation for Bribery, Visa Fraud, and Tax Charges, Forfeiting $5.9 Million

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

NEW BERN, N.C. – Leonid Teyf, 59, a Russian national formerly residing in Raleigh, North Carolina, was sentenced today to 5 years in prison for bribery of a public official, visa fraud, and false statements in relation to foreign financial interests.  Teyf and his wife, Tatiana Teyf, 43, will also forfeit $5,900,241 in assets.  Leonid Teyf will be judicially deported after he completes his sentence.  The husband and wife entered into a plea agreement in March 2021.

In December 2018, Teyf was charged by indictment with bribery of a public official, murder-for-hire, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, harboring illegal aliens, and unlawful use of a visa procured through false claims.  Teyf was also charged in a money laundering conspiracy with Tatiana Teyf and others, and several tax charges regarding the wrongful denial of the existence of overseas financial interests and the failure to file required forms in regard to the same overseas accounts.

The indictment further alleged Teyf knowingly used and possessed a U.S. immigrant visa which he had procured through false claims made on his I-140 application (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker), and that he and Tatiana Teyf had harbored and assisted other persons from Russia in coming to and remaining in the United States.

As otherwise alleged in publicly available documents filed in federal court by the Government, during the course of the investigation into the money laundering charges, Leonid Teyf came to believe that Tatiana Teyf was having an affair with another man.  Leonid Teyf discussed with an FBI confidential source having the man murdered.  Teyf also paid an someone whom he believed to be employee with the United States Department of Homeland Security $10,000 to find the man and have him deported from the United States. 

In March of this year, Teyf entered a plea of guilty to violations of 18 U.S.C. § 201, the payment of the $10,000 bribery to the federal official, 18 U.S.C. § 1546, visa fraud, and 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1), filing a false tax return.  Tatiana Teyf pled guilty to a separately filed Criminal Information, which charged a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1015(a), making a false statement in an immigration document.  Both agreed to forfeit almost $6 million in assets, and Teyf agreed to forfeit a firearm that he had provided to a confidential source.  He also agreed to his deportation. 

Pursuant to the plea, the Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina agreed to dismiss the murder-for-hire, firearm, money laundering,  harboring illegal aliens, and all but one of the tax charges against Teyf, and to seek a sentence of 60 months’ imprisonment for him.  Pursuant to Tatiana Teyf’s plea to the charge in the Criminal Information, all charges against her in the Indictment were dismissed and the government will not seek a term of imprisonment.

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The investigation of this case was conducted by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Raleigh Police Department.

Related court documents and information are located on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case 5:18-cr-00452-FL.

Updated July 9, 2021

Asset Forfeiture
Financial Fraud