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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New York Resident Pleads Guilty in South Florida to Money Laundering Conspiracy Involving Stolen Identity Tax Fraud and Recreational Vehicles Fraud Schemes

A New York resident pled guilty for his participation in a money laundering conspiracy involving stolen identity tax fraud and a recreational vehicles fraud scheme.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.

Marlen Manukyan, 41, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h). As part of his plea agreement, Manukyan agreed to restitution in the amount of $124,009.

According to court documents, from August to November 2013, Manukyan opened bank accounts using counterfeit driver's licenses that he knew would be used to conduct financial transactions involving funds derived from unlawful activities. Specifically, from August 1, 2013 to August 9, 2013, Manukyan opened multiple bank accounts using the identities of two individuals without their permission using counterfeit Pennsylvania Driver's Licenses. These accounts received money from two illicit sources for the next several months.

First, Manukyan's co-conspirators filed fraudulent tax returns with the IRS using the stolen identities of various individual taxpayers without the taxpayers' knowledge or consent. The fraudulent tax refunds (minus fees) were sent to several of the bank accounts that were set-up by the defendant. Co-conspirators then withdrew the money through cash withdrawals or debit card transactions. In total, Manukyan's co-conspirators filed approximately 71 fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.

Second, Manukyan's co-conspirators engaged in a scheme to defraud individuals who were seeking to buy used recreational vehicles (RVs) on the internet. To perpetrate this scheme, the defendant's co-conspirators used fake names and advertised on internet websites that they had used RVs for sale. Interested purchasers were told to send their money by wire transfer to a bank account in the name of a shell company that Manukyan opened using a counterfeit driver's license. Specifically, a retired couple was defrauded into believing that they had reached an agreement to purchase a used RV. The individuals sent $39,960 by wire transfer to complete the purchase, but the couple never received the RV and the co-conspirators ceased communicating with the victims once they received the money. The defendant and his co-conspirators caused the bank to send $39,000 by international wire transfer from the shell company’s bank account to a bank account in the name of another individual in Moscow, Russia.

Manukyan is scheduled to be sentenced on March 16, 2017, before United States District Judge Darrin P. Gayles. At sentencing, the defendant faces up to twenty years in prison.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Harold E. Schimkat.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Topic: 
Tax
Updated January 11, 2017