Five Defendants Arrested In Bottle-Return Bust
Group Allegedly Used False Invoices and Kickbacks to Transform 5¢ Recycling Deposit Into Lucrative Fraud
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Leon Hayward, Acting Director of the New York Field Office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced that ELDAR RAKHAMIMOV, NASIM RAKHAMIMOV, VLADIMIR ZABRODIN, RUSLAN KADIROV, and JOSEPH FINNERAN were taken into federal custody today for participating in a scheme to defraud beverage bottling companies and the State of New York. The defendants were presented this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott.
According to the allegations in the Complaint filed today in Manhattan federal court:
From September 2016 to December 4, 2017, ELDAR RAKHAMIMOV, NASIM RAKHAMIMOV, ZABRODIN, KADIROV, and FINNERAN conspired to defraud bottling companies and the State of New York through a scheme involving recyclable containers.
The defendants’ scheme exploited recycling incentives created by New York State’s Returnable Container Act (the “RCA”). The RCA created a $.05 deposit on bottled soft drinks, beer, and water sold in New York State to promote the recycling of bottles and cans by bottlers, beverage distributors, and container redemption centers. Under the RCA, the first bottler, distributor, or dealer to collect the required deposits on beverage containers is required to reimburse the $.05 deposit to redeeming individuals or entities and to pay a handling fee of $.035 per empty beverage container redeemed by redemption centers.
ELDAR RAKHAMIMOV and NASIM RAKHAMIMOV managed a bottle collection company (“Company-1”) that focused on aggregating recyclable containers and delivering them, in exchange for payment, to redemption centers in the New York City area. ELDAR RAKHAMIMOV and NASIM RAKHAMIMOV, along with ZABRODIN, KADIROV, and FINNERAN, worked together to falsely inflate the number of bottles delivered by Company-1 to induce redemption centers to overpay bottle deposits and handling fees to Company-1.
Using an assortment of deceptive techniques, ranging from doctored invoices to “redeeming” the same bottles twice to impermissibly collecting bottles from New Jersey to paying (or receiving) kickbacks, the defendants extracted hundreds of thousands of dollars from victim companies – and, ultimately, the State of New York.
* * *
ELDAR RAKHAMIMOV, 46, of Brooklyn, New York, NASIM RAKHAMIMOV, 46, of Brooklyn, New York, ZABRODIN, 32, of Staten Island, New York, KADIROV, 32, of Brooklyn, New York, and FINNERAN, 64, of Bay Shore, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding work of the FBI, the CBP, and the NYPD for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.
The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew C. Adams, Frank J. Balsamello, and Andrew Thomas are in charge of the case.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.