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Press Release

Canadian Man Sentenced to 68 Months for $1.25 Million Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Ivan Chernev, age 51, and a citizen of Canada and Bulgaria, was sentenced today to 68 months in prison for a fraudulent scheme that targeted small businesses, medical providers and schools across the country.

The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon; Joseph Cronin, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

 As part of his guilty plea on June 26, 2020, Chernev admitted that he and two co-conspirators stole at least $1.25 million from over 1,300 small businesses, medical providers and schools by claiming that the victims owed money for online directory listings that the defendant and his co-conspirators purported to have provided through companies that they created.  Chernev admitted that he and his co-conspirators sent false invoices to the victims indicating that they had ordered these online advertising services when no such services had ever been ordered or received.  When the victims failed to pay the invoices, Chernev and his co-conspirators sent them fake collections notices.  The invoices and collections notices directed the victims to mail checks to various addresses throughout the United States, which were simply Post Office boxes that Chernev and his co-conspirators rented in the names of their companies. The checks were then forwarded to Chernev and his co-conspirators in Quebec, Canada.

Senior United States District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. also ordered Chernev to pay restitution to his victims, pay a money judgment in the amount of $1.25 million, and serve 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with assistance from the Federal Trade Commission.  It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Kopita.  Chernev was extradited from Italy to the United States in November 2019 with assistance from the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs.

Updated December 2, 2020

Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud