Woman who schemed to hide millions from Bankruptcy Court sentenced to 3+ years in prison
Conspired with partner to hide assets after sham business went under
Seattle – A former Bellevue, Washington, resident who relocated to Miami, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 38 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and $2,359,914 in restitution for bankruptcy fraud. MARINA BONDARENKO, 38, operated a ‘work-at- home’ email scheme that ultimately crashed – but not before she and her partner raided the cash to purchase homes, expensive cars, and a yacht. The two set up a series of trusts to try to hide the diverted assets from the bankruptcy trustee after the sham company declared bankruptcy. At the sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said he was concerned about respect for the law. “She submitted false documents in two different judicial proceedings,” Chief Judge Martinez said. “She committed perjury – she took the witness stand and lied.”
According to records filed in the case, between July 2013 and March 2014, BONDARENKO and her partner, Volodimyr Pigida, siphoned off more than $3 million from a company they had established that essentially operated as a Ponzi scheme. The pair used the money to purchase four properties, a yacht, and numerous cars. As the Ponzi scheme unraveled, the company filed for bankruptcy protection. BONDARENKO and Pigida never revealed to the bankruptcy court that they had looted the company coffers and transferred assets purchased with that money to ten trusts they had established. In all, the pair attempted to conceal $3,334,750 in assets from the bankruptcy court and creditors.
BONDARENKO and her now-husband Pigida were indicted for conspiracy, mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud in November 2018. In September 2019, BONDARENKO pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud. Pigida is scheduled for trial on the indictment in September 2020.
The company the two formed, Trend Sound Promoter AMG Corp., was supposed to conduct advertising and music promotion over the internet. The couple sold Ad-promoting packages whereby those who bought a package were to be paid for email marketing. The couple made claims to those purchasing the packages that they could make big money for sending emails on Trend Sound’s behalf. In reality, the only money being generated was from those purchasing the packages, and it was used to pay earlier purchasers as in a typical Ponzi scheme. As purchasers got wise and the money started to run out, BONDARENKO and Pigida accelerated their looting of the company, eventually transferring $3.3 million out of the company for their personal benefit.
The two even filed suit in King County Superior Court in an attempt to stop an unhappy customer from warning others about the company’s sham offering. In her plea agreement, BONDARENKO admitted to providing perjured testimony in that proceeding.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Arnold and Marie Dalton.