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New Top Ten - Global Con Artist

Top Ten Fugitives
Global Con Artist and Ruthless Criminal

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Semion Mogilevich Wanted Poster

10/21/09

A Ukrainian businessman charged with more than 40 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and other economic crimes carried out in dozens of countries around the world is the newest addition to our Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

Semion Mogilevich is wanted for his alleged participation in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors in the stock of YBM Magnex International, a company he controlled—which had its world headquarters just outside Philadelphia—that was supposed to manufacture magnets but instead bilked investors out of $150 million.

As bad as that scam was, Mogilevich’s continuing international criminal enterprise is believed to be much worse. “The FBI doesn’t have the jurisdiction to charge him with other crimes taking place solely in other countries,” said Special Agent Peter Kowenhoven, “but open-source reporting shows him to be involved in weapons trafficking, contract murders, extortion, drug trafficking, and prostitution on an international scale.”

Agent Kowenhoven, who has assisted agents working this case since coming to our Philadelphia office in 1997, describes Mogilevich as a ruthless criminal. “Victims don’t mean anything to him,” he said. “And what makes him so dangerous is that he operates without borders. Here’s a guy who managed to defraud investors out of $150 million without ever stepping foot in the Philadelphia area.”

Mogilevich, who is in his early 60s, is about 5-feet-6-inches tall and weighs nearly 300 pounds. He has pockmarks on his face, may have a moustache, and is a heavy smoker. He is living in Moscow, where Russian law prohibits his extradition to the U.S.

Through his extensive international criminal network, Mogilevich controls extensive natural gas pipelines in Eastern Europe, and he uses this wealth and power to not only further his criminal enterprises but to influence governments and their economies, Kowenhoven said.

“With him, it’s all about money—money and influence. And the really chilling thing is that he seems willing to work with any criminals, regardless of their ideology.”

Mogilevich’s money laundering network involved 27 nations around the world. At some point during our investigation, all those nations have assisted us, Kowenhoven said. “He moved money through so many countries, it made it very difficult to follow. But as a result of our investigation, we have forged great international partnerships.”

Mogilevich has an economics degree and is deviously clever about manipulating funds—and investors. YBM, a public company incorporated in Canada, saw its stock price rise some 2,000 percent due to bogus financial records Mogilevich created, bribes to accountants, and lies told to Securities and Exchange Commission officials.

We are offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to Mogilevich’s arrest. If you have any information concerning the case, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate or submit a tip electronically. Although Russia is his primary residence, Mogilevich has ties to the U.S. and England. He is considered armed and dangerous.

“If he’s caught in any country with a U.S. extradition treaty, they could send him here,” Kowenhoven said. “If Mogilevich travels outside of Russia, we’re hoping someone will turn him in.”

For a full list of the fugitives and missing persons we’re looking for, please visit our Wanted by the FBI webpage.

Resource:
- Ten Most Wanted Fugitives