Seventeen Charged in Structuring Scheme Involving Nearly $9 Million in Cash Withdrawn from Pharmaceutical Company’s Bank Account
Prosecutors Tell Court that Money Came from ‘Diverted’ Prescription Drugs
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 11, 2012|
LOS ANGELES—Federal agents this morning arrested 10 defendants who allegedly were involved in just under $9 million worth of structured currency transactions designed to avoid federal reporting requirements.
According to an indictment unsealed today, from the beginning of 2009 through April 2011, a total of 17 people allegedly were involved in the scheme to structure cash withdrawals to avoid the federal currency transaction reporting requirement that requires domestic banks to report any currency transaction of more than $10,000. The indictment lists 251 instances of structured transactions totaling $8,980,900.
The scheme was allegedly orchestrated by two principals of a Philadelphia-based company called Independent Wholesale Drug, Inc. (IWD)—Peter Kats, 31, of Beverly Hills, and Aziz Nurhan, 30, of North Hollywood. Kats and nine other defendants were arrested this morning. Nurhan has agreed to surrender to federal authorities tomorrow.
This case is the result of an investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Kats and Nurhan, along with the 15 other defendants named in the indictment, were allegedly part of a scheme to structure currency withdrawals of more than $10,000 in a scheme designed to evade a currency transaction reporting requirement.
The funds involved in the structuring scheme are the proceeds of a pharmaceutical diversion scheme run by Kats, according to prosecutors. In court this afternoon, prosecutors told a United States Magistrate Judge that Kats is suspected of generating proceeds by using IWD to purchase pharmaceuticals from non-authorized sources—including the black market—which he then sold to other pharmaceutical wholesalers, who in turn sold the pharmaceuticals to retailers.
The 10 taken into custody are among 17 named in a federal indictment that was unsealed this morning. In addition to Kats and Nurhan, the other 15 defendants named in the indictment are:
- Vladlen Botvinsky, 35, of Los Angeles;
- Murad Magomedgadzhiev, 28, of Reseda, who is currently in federal custody;
- Guseyn Magomedgadzhiev, 27, of Reseda, Murad’s brother, who is currently a fugitive;
- Areg Bezik, 23, of Glendale;
- Pavel Groysman, 32, of Studio City;
- Vitaly Khaytovich, 24, of West Hollywood;
- Ruslan Magomedgadzhiev, 32, of Reseda, the brother of Murad and Guseyn, who is currently a fugitive;
- Izumrud Magomedgadzhiyeva, 37, of Reseda, the sister of Murad, Guseyn and Ruslan;
- Alexander Makhtin, 41, of Sherman Oaks;
- Lev Monoshevich, 27, of Los Angeles;
- Inna Koval, 26, of Los Angeles;
- Alexander Sherif, 32, of San Diego;
- Armen Aperian, 34, a fugitive who is believed to be residing outside of the United States;
- Aelita Kuliyeva, 32, a fugitive who is believed to be residing outside of the United States; and
- Andre Beziki, 55, of Glendale, who was not arrested because he died earlier this year.
The defendants arrested this morning are being arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
All 17 defendants named in the indictment are charged with conspiracy, which carries a maximum statutory sentence of five years in federal prison. Kats and Nurhan additionally are charged with a felony structuring violation which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.
In a separate indictment also unsealed today, Kats is charged with seven counts of bank fraud stemming from a scheme to defraud two separate credit card companies, American Express Centurion Bank (AMEX) and American Express, FSB (AMEX FSB). According to this second indictment, Kats falsely represented to AMEX and AMEX FSB that he was an active duty member of the United States Air Force and qualified for benefits under the Servicemember Civil Relief Act for the time period of June 17, 2011 through November 17, 2012. Kats further misrepresented that all charges incurred on the AMEX and AMEX FSB Credit Card accounts after June 17, 2011 were the result of identity theft. In reliance on Kats’ false statements that he was an active duty member of the military and had been the victim of identity theft, AMEX and AMEX FSB waived more than $40,000 in fees and charges that Kats had incurred. If convicted of all seven counts of bank fraud, Kats would face a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment.
The bank fraud case is the result of an investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Assistant United States Attorney Nili T. Moghaddam
Violent and Organized Crime Section