Alleged Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Schemes Result in Charges Against 15 Individuals
|FBI Chicago January 18, 2013|
Two federal grand jury indictments were handed down this week charging a total of 15 individuals with a variety of federal offenses in connection with alleged schemes to obtain goods, cars, and money illegally. The indictments, unsealed yesterday following the arrests of nine of the defendants by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), were announced today by Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI, and Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
The charges are the result of an FBI investigation that began in 2009. One of the two indictments contains 24 counts against 13 defendants. The indictment alleges that the defendants made multiple purchases of clothing, sporting goods, electronics, and automobiles through the fraudulent use of credit cards and facilitated by identity theft. The activities that led to the charges began in July 2010 and continued until April 2012. The defendants charged in this indictment are as follows:
- Teimuraz Jobava, 32, of Chicago, charged with 10 counts of mail fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, two counts of credit card fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft;
- Sezgey Chezuyshkov, 30, of Chicago, charged with three counts of wire fraud and two counts each of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft;
- Young Kim, 48, of Indianapolis, Indiana, charged with three counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud;
- Temur Bakhtadza, 34, of Moscow, Russia, charged with five counts of mail fraud and one count of credit card fraud;
- Ivo Pavlik, 40, of Harwood Heights, Illinois, charged with two counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud;
- Petr Vana, 36, of Skokie, Illinois, charged with three counts of wire fraud;
- Maxim Poluektov, 34, of Chicago, charged with one count of wire fraud;
- Yaroslav Bolesta, 25, of Northbrook, Illinois, charged with one count of wire fraud;
- Iazon Shonia, 36, of Tblisi, Republic of Georgia, charged with one count of wire fraud;
- Marek Bajorski, 48, of Chicago, charged with one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud;
- Alicja Migala, also known as Alicja Cieslak, 31, of Poland, charged with two counts of wire fraud;
- Mateusz Cieslak, 31, of Poland, charged with one count of wire fraud; and
- Sylwia Mackowska Janik, 37, of Schiller Park, Illinois, charged with two counts of mail fraud.
The indictment also seeks forfeiture of approximately $786,192 from all of the defendants as well as an additional amount of approximately $7,499 from defendants Jobava, Chezuyshkov, and Bakhtadze.
In another five-count indictment, five defendants were charged with bank fraud and wire fraud charges for their alleged roles in obtaining fraudulent bank loans and equipment leases over a 13-month period beginning in November 2011. Three of those charged in this indictment were also charged in the indictment described above: Ivo Pavlik, charged with four counts of bank fraud; Petr Vana, charged with two counts of bank fraud; and Marek Bajorski, charged with one count of bank fraud. In addition, Juraj Vallo, 41, of the Czech Republic, was charged with one count of bank fraud, and Mitko Marguin, 47, of South Barrington, Illinois, was charged with one count of wire fraud. According to the indictment, the defendants fraudulently inflated income and assets and made fraudulent misrepresentations about the intended use of loan proceeds on loan applications they made to banks. The indictment also alleges that misrepresentations were made and false documents created in support of a finance application for an equipment lease.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of approximately $815,469 from defendants Pavlik, Vana, Bajorski, and Vallo, and approximately $21,130 from defendant Marguin.
Eight of the 15 defendants were arrested yesterday without incident at various locations in and around Chicago by the FBI. One defendant, Kim, was arrested in Indiana. Defendant Jobava was not located yesterday, and a warrant for his arrest remains outstanding. The remaining five defendants, Bakhtadze, Shonia, Migala, Cieslak, and Vallo, also have outstanding arrest warrants and are believed to be outside the U.S.
Those arrested in the Chicago area, Chezuyshkov, Pavlik, Vana, Poluektov, Bolesta, Bajorski, Janik and Marguin, appeared yesterday afternoon before U.S. magistrate judges. Janik was released on bond, and the others were ordered held pending detention hearings, which are scheduled to begin next Tuesday in Chicago. Kim appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in Indiana and was also released on bond.
Each count of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Mail fraud and wire fraud counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of credit card fraud carries a maximum penalty of either 10 or 15 years in prison (depending on the specific charge) and a $250,000 fine, and each count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.