Korzha Guilty In Connection With Online Vehicle Sale Scam

Brooklyn-Based Manager Of Money Laundering Operation, Natalia Korzha Pleads Guilty In Connection With $5 Million Online Vehicle Sale Scam

Three Other Defendants Connected to Scheme Recently Extradited from Lithuania

(STL.News) Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ricky Patel, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today that NATALIA KORZHA pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with a scheme to launder money derived from an online vehicle sale scam that generated at least $5.3 million from dozens of defrauded consumers. KORZHA pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As she admitted today, Natalia Korzha managed a group of co-conspirators who opened bank accounts that were used to launder millions of dollars in criminal proceeds from an online vehicle sale scam. Without her money laundering operation, online fraudsters would not be able to profit from their illegal schemes. Korzha will now face a term of imprisonment and be required to forfeit her ill-gotten gains.”

As alleged in the Complaint and the Indictments, and based on statements made in court:

From at least March 2019 through approximately March 2021, KORZHA managed a money laundering operation based in Brooklyn that included co-defendants VLADISLAV NECEAEV, ANASHON KAMALOV, KAROL KAMINSKI, STANISLAV TUNKEVIC, and SVETLANA VAIDOTIENE, among others. With KORZHA as coordinator, NECEAEV, KAMALOV, KAMINSKI, TUNKEVIC, VAIDOTIENE, and other co-conspirators opened numerous bank accounts in the name of shell companies for the purpose of laundering money stolen from consumers who were trying to buy vehicles online. In exchange, the defendants received a cut of the victims’ money.

Other members of the conspiracy, pretending to represent car dealerships, advertised vehicles that they did not own and were not authorized to sell on fake websites with domain names that sounded like legitimate car dealerships, or through online marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay. Victims who responded to those advertisements and negotiated a purchase price were instructed by the purported sellers to wire payment to accounts that NECEAEV, KAMALOV, KAMINSKI, TUNKEVIC, VAIDOTIENE, and other co-conspirators opened.

Once the payments cleared, the defendants quickly withdrew the funds before the victims realized they had been defrauded. The victims never received the vehicles they thought they had bought or any refunds from the fake sellers. In total, dozens of victims were defrauded of a total of at least $5.3 million.

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KORZHA, 49, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and agreed to forfeiture of $5,386,538 and restitution of $5,386,538. KORZHA is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres on September 7, 2022.

NECEAEV, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud on March 14, 2022, before Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger. He has agreed to forfeit $526,000. NECEAEV is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Torres on June 8, 2022.

TUNKEVIC, 47, was extradited to the United States from Lithuania on March 25, 2022, and presented in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave on March 28, 2022.

KAMINSKI, 32, was extradited to the United States from Lithuania on April 4, 2022, and presented in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Jennifer E. Willis on April 5, 2022.

VAIDOTIENE, 54, was extradited to the United States from Lithuania on April 8, 2022, and presented in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang on April 11, 2022.

TUNKEVIC, KAMINSKI, and VAIDOTIENE are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges against each of them are pending. They have been ordered detained pending trial.

The offense of conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000,000. The crime of conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of Homeland Security Investigations and the New York Police Department. He also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division, the United States Marshals Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania, and the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau for their assistance in this investigation.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Lai is in charge of the prosecution.

SOURCE: USDOJ.Today