Dual Kazakh-Israeli Citizen Extradited From Cyprus To United States To Face Fraud And Money Laundering Charges
200 Investors Lost $11 Million In The Rockford Group Investment Scheme
BROOKLYN, NY – Genadi Yagodayev, a dual citizen of Kazakhstan and Israel, has been extradited to the United States from Cyprus to face charges related to the Rockford Group investment scheme, which defrauded investors out of millions of dollars. Yagodayev is charged in an indictment with mail and wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering. He is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser.
The extradition was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Philip R. Bartlett, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), New York Division; James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; and Robert J. Sica, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), New York Field Office.
According to the indictment and other court documents, from approximately December 2008 to November 2009, Yagodayev and his co-conspirators participated in a fraudulent investment scheme through a company called the Rockford Group. In documents, Yagodayev described himself as the “President” and “Manager” of the Rockford Group. The Rockford Group marketed itself as a “leading private equity firm,” claimed to invest in plaintiffs’ rights to future recoveries in personal injury and other lawsuits, and promised a 15% return on their investments. The Rockford Group, however, never invested in any lawsuits. Instead, nearly all of the investors’ funds were wired to bank accounts overseas. Approximately 200 investors in the U.S. and Canada lost approximately $11 million as a result of this scheme.
“As set forth in the indictment, the defendant Yagodayev was a member of a group of fraudsters who stole the savings of hardworking individuals. Yagodayev styled himself as the president and manager of the Rockford Group, a company that existed only to scam innocent victims,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “As the defendant’s extradition illustrates, we will pursue these crooks wherever they go.” Ms. Lynch thanked the government of Cyprus and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for their assistance in the extradition of Yagodayev.
“When the U.S. Mail is used to commit a mail fraud investment scheme, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will commit the resources necessary to properly investigate and bring the case forward for prosecution. This is one of the many ways we ensure the public’s trust in the U.S. Mail,” said Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett.
“Yagodayev’s extradition disrupts an alleged Ponzi scheme that swindled investors in the United States and Canada out of millions of dollars,” said James T. Hayes Jr., Special Agent in Charge of HSI in New York. “White collar criminals who think they can scam U.S. investors from overseas and get away with it are mistaken. HSI and its federal and international law enforcement partners will use all of its resources to locate and arrest criminals who attempt to exploit our financial systems."
“The extradition of Genadi Yagodayev is yet another example of how the Secret Service continues to successfully combat financial fraud,” said Robert J. Sica, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service New York Field Office. “Our success in this case and similar investigations is a result of our close work with our network of law enforcement partners. This case demonstrates there is no such thing as anonymity for those engaging in fraudulent schemes.”
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the charged counts.
This prosecution was the result of efforts by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.StopFraud.gov.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel A. Spector and Justin D. Lerer.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 14-CR-258