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Press Release

Member of Eastern European Organized Crime Syndicate Sentenced to 46 Months’ Imprisonment for Racketeering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant Owned High-Stakes Poker Rooms in Brooklyn and Extorted Player Who Fled the Country to Escape Gambling Debt

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Igor Krugly was sentenced by United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan to 46 months’ imprisonment following his conviction for racketeering, including illegal gambling and extortion conspiracy as predicate acts.  Krugly was a prominent member of a violent, Brooklyn-based, Eastern European criminal syndicate linked to high-ranking members of the Eastern European mafia.  Krugly also agreed to pay criminal forfeiture in the amount of $25,000. Krugly pleaded guilty to the charge in June 2017.

Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations New York (ICE-HSI), James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, (IRS-CI), James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), and George Beach, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP), announced the sentence.

“As a member of an Eastern European organized crime syndicate, Krugly engaged in traditional and pernicious rackets, operating illegal high stakes poker games and perpetuating a related, international extortion conspiracy,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “Krugly’s conviction and sentence demonstrate the resolve of this Office and our law enforcement partners to use all available tools to root out the destructive influence of organized crime groups wherever they operate.”

“Krugly was a leader of a criminal enterprise operating in New York that profited from illegal gambling, drug trafficking and other criminal acts,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Hunt.  “Throughout the investigation, our Strike Force identified Krugly’s role in violent crimes committed in other countries including Russia and Israel.  This conviction is a true testament to law enforcement’s tenacity and successful collaboration between federal, state, local and international law enforcement.”   

“This criminal organization has been connected to arson, assault, illegal gambling and extortion, including using threats for repayment of a gambling debt,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez.  “Today’s sentencing is the result of the hard work of the men and women from multiple agencies on the DEA’s Strike Force, and we are committed to working with our law enforcement partners and bringing these criminals to justice.”

“When defendants take extreme measures to continue their criminal activity, IRS-CI will add our financial expertise to strengthen these multi-agency investigations,” said IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Robnett.  “Today’s sentence is a direct result of the contributions from our law enforcement partners and prosecutors of the Eastern District of New York, who are committed to combating violations of federal law.”

 “Today’s sentencing is a direct result of the hard work and cooperation among law enforcement at all levels, and I applaud all of our partners for their dedication to fighting organized crime,” stated NYSP Superintendent Beach.  “The disruption of this illegal operation serves as a strong reminder that activities such as racketeering, illegal gambling and the violence that is perpetuated by such crimes will not be tolerated.”

According to court filings, members of the syndicate engaged in a wide range of organized criminal activities, including arson, assault, drug trafficking, extortion, illegal gambling and loansharking.  Krugly co-owned and operated some of the syndicate’s high-stakes poker games in Brooklyn, and he used threats of violence to collect debts.  In mid-2016, after a poker player who owed Krugly tens of thousands of dollars fled the country, Krugly and his co-defendants devised a plan to extort the player with the help of high-ranking members of Eastern European organized crime, known as “Thieves-in-Law” or “Thieves.”  Court-authorized wiretaps captured Krugly planning to track down the player’s family in Russia to find out where he had fled:  “This [expletive] is not [expletive] calling me.  Right now, we need to find him or his father, that’s it  . . . .  they will approach the father, the wife of the father or his people there in Moscow.”  Krugly and his co-defendants ultimately located the player in Israel and enlisted the help of the Thieves to confront him there.  Less than an hour after being approached in Israel, the player contacted Krugly to arrange repayment of his debt.

Krugly was also the co-owner of a high-stakes poker game located inside a storefront at 2663 Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, which displayed a large poster bearing the name of the defendant’s private security business, “Pitbull Security,” in the window.  Inside, however, was a professional poker room where Krugly was involved in every aspect of the business including recruiting players, paying out money to winners and collecting debts from losers, and hiring dealers and “massage girls.”

Eleven other members of the syndicate have been charged with racketeering crimes in this case.  One defendant remains a fugitive, and seven have pled guilty to racketeering and related crimes.  On November 13, 2017, co-defendant Isok Aronov was sentenced to a year and a day of imprisonment for unlawful debt collection.  Defendants Leonid Gershman, Aleksey Tsvetkov and Artiom Pocinoc are awaiting trial.  The remaining defendants are awaiting sentencing.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Jacobs and Andrey Spektor are in charge of the prosecution.

Defendant Sentenced Today:

Age: 38
Residence:  Brooklyn, New York

Defendant Previously Sentenced:

Age: 32
Residence: Brooklyn, New York

Defendants Awaiting Trial:



Age: 34

Residence: Brooklyn, New York



Age: 28

Residence: Brooklyn, New York



Age: 39

Residence: Brooklyn, New York


Defendants Awaiting Sentencing:


Age: 32
Residence: Brooklyn



Age: 33

Residence: Manhattan, New York


Age: 52
Residence: Brooklyn, New York


Age: 36

Residence: Brooklyn, New York

Age: 38
Residence: Brooklyn, New York



Age: 38

Residence: Brooklyn, New York


E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-553 (S-2) (BMC)


John Marzulli
Tyler Daniels
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated December 13, 2017