Former Officer Of Rockford Group Pleads Guilty For Role In Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme
Earlier today, Genadi Yagodayev, a former officer of the Rockford Group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud investors of more than $10 million. Today’s plea is the fourth conviction in connection with the investigation into Rockford Group.
The guilty plea was announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Philip R. Bartlett, Postal Inspector in Charge, New York Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); Raymond R. Parmer Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York Field Office (HSI); and Robert J. Sica, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, New York Field Office (USSS).
“Yagodayev and his cohorts scammed unsuspecting investors through a web of lies and deceit. When the money was stolen and sent overseas, Yagodayev fled the country and thought he had escaped the reach of U.S. law enforcement,” stated Acting United States Attorney Currie. “His extradition and prosecution show that we and our law enforcement partners will leave no stone unturned in bringing to justice those who seek to defraud the investing public.” Mr. Currie expressed his appreciation to the USPIS, HSI, and USSS for their hard work and dedication over the course of this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Currie also thanked the government of Cyprus and the Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs (OIA), for their substantial assistance in the extradition of Yagodayev.
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. 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.
After the scheme collapsed, Yagodayev fled to Israel. In 2014, he was apprehended while traveling to Cyprus and extradited to the United States later that year.
Today’s guilty plea took place before United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser. When sentenced, Yagodayev faces up to 20 years in prison. The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Business and Security Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Spector is in charge of the prosecution.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway 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 is 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 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 14-CR-258