“Thief-In-Law’s” Money Launderer Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court
Daniel Daniel Used Fake Vodka Business to Conceal the Criminal Proceeds of a Powerful Vor v Zakone
Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the plea by DANIEL DANIEL of Miami, Florida, to the charge of conspiring to commit money laundering by concealing the proceeds of criminal activity. As described below, DANIEL conspired with Razhden Shulaya to launder the proceeds of the illicit activities of the Shulaya Enterprise, a prolific criminal organization dismantled in June 2017 upon the arrests of Shulaya and over twenty-five other members and associates of the Shulaya Enterprise. DANIEL faces a maximum term of twenty years in prison. DANIEL pled guilty before United States District Judge Loretta A. Preska.
Manhattan Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Money launderers like Daniel sit at the nexus of the legitimate world of finance and an international network of criminal activity. They embolden, enrich, and facilitate pernicious criminal actors, and seek to place well-heeled criminals like Razhden Shulaya beyond accountability. Today’s plea is another example of this Office’s dedication to uprooting and prosecuting these criminal facilitators.”
According to the Complaint and Indictment filed in the case, as well as statements made during the plea proceedings and earlier court appearances:
The Shulaya Enterprise was an organized criminal group controlled by Razhden Shulaya, a “vor v zakone,” which is a Russian phrase translated roughly as “Thief-in-Law,” and which refers to high-level criminal figures from the former Soviet Union who receive tribute from other criminals and laypersons within the vor’s protection, license criminal activity by others, and resolve disputes between members of the criminal community. Shulaya and the Shulaya Enterprise engaged in widespread criminal activities, including the transportation and sale of stolen property, wire and bank fraud, illegal gambling operations, extortion of debtors to its gambling operation, and the use of false identification documents and counterfeit credit cards in order to illegally purchase merchandise. Shulaya operated the Shulaya Enterprise in and around the New York City area, including in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as in other parts of the country, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Southern Florida.
DANIEL facilitated the activities of the Shulaya Enterprise by conspiring with Shulaya and others to launder proceeds of the illicit activities of the Enterprise. DANIEL assisted Shulaya in establishing a purported vodka import-export business referred to as “Tropport” and related Tropport bank accounts that DANIEL knew were being used as fronts for laundering the criminal proceeds of the Shulaya Enterprise. As Shulaya’s money laundering consultant, DANIEL explained that Tropport would provide “a cover for where [Shulaya obtained his] money”; advised Shulaya on the details of fabricating documents to reflect nonexistent corporate debt in order to falsely lower Tropport’s tax liability; and described how this sham company and false documentation would allow the vor to plausibly deny any potential money laundering allegations.
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Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding work of the FBI, including the New York Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force and the Atlantic City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Miami offices, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the NYPD for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.
DANIEL is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Preska on March 30, 2021.
The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Greenwood is in charge of the case.