Connoquenessing Resident Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison for $1.67 Million Embezzlement and Filing False Tax Returns
PITTSBURGH - Six residents of New York, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh and arrested on a charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
A one-count indictment, returned in December 2017, named Devan Abrams, 37, of New York, NY, Tamara Feldman, 29, of Brooklyn, NY, Azad Khizgilov, 43, of Staten Island, NY, and Roman Shaulov, age 50, of Brooklyn, NY. Separate one-count indictments named Philip Krasnikov, 31, of Brooklyn, NY and Svetlana Kapralova, 30, of Brooklyn, NY.
According to the indictments presented to the court, the conspirators were involved in a complex fraud that involved fraudulently processing credit card payments. The credit card companies will not allow their products and services to be used to pay for certain precluded activities, including the on-line sales of pharmaceutical drugs and of products violating trademark infringement laws. The defendants participated in the conspiracy designed to conceal from the credit card companies the fact they used their products and services to pay for precluded activities and to subvert the internal controls the credit card companies had in place to detect and prevent this type of activity. The fraud involved establishing shell corporations and web sites associated with the shell companies that falsely claimed that they sold products other than pharmaceutical drugs or products that violated trademark infringement laws. The conspirators then applied for merchant accounts from the credit card companies in the names of the shell corporations and the fake web sites. Once the merchant accounts were established, they were used to process payments for pharmaceutical drugs or products that violated trademark infringement laws. Additionally, the conspirators arranged for the credit card statements sent to the consumers to have the names of the shell corporations and telephone numbers. The conspirators set up a telephone bank to receive calls from customers questioning billings on their credit card statements, and the conspirators explained to the customers the true nature of the transactions in hopes of avoiding charge-backs that could cause the credit card companies to question the legitimacy of the transactions.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Pennsylvania State Police and United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.