Russian Citizen Sentenced To 46 Months For Laundering Proceeds Of Internet Frauds
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that TARAS ILYICH BEVZ, a citizen of Russia, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for laundering over a million dollars of proceeds of various internet frauds targeting dozens of U.S. citizens and companies. BEVZ was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Bevz, a Russian citizen, traveled to the United States on a tourist visa to engage in a crime spree that left over 40 people and entities with over a million dollars in losses. From the day he set foot on American soil, he ran companies and bank accounts that laundered proceeds of various sophisticated internet fraud schemes. Bevz’s illegal journey to America to commit crimes comes to an end with a significant prison sentence.”
According to Count Two of the Indictment, to which BEVZ pled guilty, and other statements and submissions made in Court:
On or about November 12, 2019, BEVZ entered the United States from Russia on a B2 tourist visa, which prohibited him from working in the United States. He immediately set to work preparing for the corrupt scheme to launder proceeds of various internet frauds. On the day of his arrival, BEVZ registered a corporation in New York that would be used to launder proceeds and subsequently registered a second corporation. From December 2019 to March 2021, BEVZ opened bank accounts for one or both of these companies at nine different banks, including in Manhattan bank branches.
From November 2019 through at least April 2021, BEVZ laundered the proceeds of at least two internet fraud schemes operated by co-conspirators: a hacking scheme and a vehicle fraud scheme. The hacking scheme compromised multiple companies’ bank accounts and sent proceeds to BEVZ’s accounts, among others. The fraud scheme targeted victims through internet ads for the sale of cars, RVs, motorcycles, and boats. The victims were directed to send money to BEVZ’s accounts, among others; their money was then withdrawn by BEVZ as cash or transferred to Turkey, among other destinations. The purported cars, motorcycles, and boats were never delivered to the victims. BEVZ supervised at least one other individual who similarly opened bank accounts and transacted with proceeds from the vehicle fraud scheme. BEVZ persisted in this scheme even after at least one bank prevented him from transferring money and shut down his account.
At least 42 victims lost money as part of BEVZ and his co-conspirators’ schemes. They include vulnerable victims whose business and personal savings accounts were drained as a result of the fraud and couples who have had to delay retirement. The victims represent a cross-section of society, including first generation Americans, teachers, and small business owners. They include a family who spent $26,500 to purchase an RV to transport an ailing parent cross-country over the holidays that was never delivered.
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In addition to his prison term, BEVZ, 33, was ordered pay $1,044,924 in restitution and forfeit $1,044,924.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.
The criminal case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vladislav Vainberg is in charge of the prosecution.