Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Visa Fraud Scheme in US Embassy in Kiev Ukraine

For Immediate Release
October 29, 2009 FBI Cleveland
Contact: Special Agent Scott Wilson
(216) 622-6611

Members of International Criminal Organization Arrested

C. Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for the Northern District of Ohio, announces the arrests of Pavlo Mostranskyy, age 45, Ukrainian National from Cleveland, Ohio; Sonya Hilaszek, age 45, of Cleveland, Ohio; and Vitaly Fedorchuk, age 40, of Cleveland, Ohio on October 29, 2009.

Mostranskyy, Hilaszek, and Fedorchuk have been charged with a Federal Conspiracy to Commit Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Identification Documents and Information. Mostranskyy, Hilaszek, and Fodorchuk were charged and arrested after a lengthy investigation conducted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Public Safety-BMV Investigations Section, Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigative Division, Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, and the Cleveland Office of the FBI.

Also charged in connection with this investigation are Johongir Masudov, age 27, Uzbekistan National from Cincinnati, Ohio; Azamjon Asodov, age 43, Uzbekistan National from Cincinnati, Ohio; Valentina Denisova, age 30, Russian National from Cincinnati, Ohio; Artak Serobyan, age 25, Armenian National from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Petro Vytvytskyy, age 45, Russian National from Newark, New Jersey; Galina Dobrova – Volochiy, age 49, Ukrainian National from Newark, New Jersey; Dmytro Karabinovych, age 47, of Newark, New Jersey; Ivan Volochiy, age 40, Ukrainian National from Newark, New Jersey; Roman Matveev, age 32, Russian National from Newark, New Jersey; Vasyl Yatskiv, age 30, Russian or Ukrainian National from Chicago, Illinois; Michael Slepyan, age 41, Israeli National from Chicago, Illinois; Hennadiy Vaskevych, age 43, of Chicago, Illinois; Bohdan Borsuk, age 48, Polish National of Chicago, Illinois; Zdzislaw Kowalczyk, age 52, of Chicago, Illinois; and Martynas Bojarcius, age 29, of Chicago, Illinois.

This investigation started in December of 2007 when information was received that individuals in the Cleveland Ukrainian community were involved in a scheme to bring foreign nationals to Cleveland, Ohio and help them fraudulently obtain real Ohio driver’s licenses for a fee, issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) by a Deputy Registrar working for this criminal organization. The investigation focused on Vitaly Fedorchuk who was identified as the leader of the criminal organization; Sonya Hilaszek, a corrupt employee at the Deputy Registrars Office in Parma, Ohio; and Pavlo Mostranskyy, who acted as a middle-man bringing the foreign nationals to Cleveland. Other members of the organization were based in several cities throughout the United States and worked with and for Fedorchuk and Mostranskyy to identify and facilitate customers through the operation.

An undercover FBI agent was able to fraudulently obtain a real Ohio Driver’s License in August of 2008 for $3000 from this criminal organization. The investigation showed that this criminal organization operated for at least four years, charging foreign nationals, most of whom are unlawfully present, between $1,500 and $3,000 for Ohio driver’s licenses, and Ohio state identification cards using either fraudulent documentation or none at all.

During the course of the US-based investigation, the investigators here in Cleveland discovered evidence that the criminal group in Ohio were working with criminal counterparts in Ukraine. Together, they fraudulently obtained United States non-immigrant visas for Ukrainian nationals who then traveled to Ohio and other points in the United States. The visas were obtained from the United States Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, allegedly through corrupt Ukrainian national employees of the US Embassy. The investigative team from Cleveland, the FBI’s Legal Attaché’s Office in Kyiv, and Diplomatic Security Service Special Agents assigned to the US Embassy in Ukraine investigated the Ukrainian criminal group jointly with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Organized Crime Department over the course of many months. The criminal group allegedly charged each visa applicant $12,000.00. As a result of the joint international investigation, seven members of the Ukraine-based criminal organization, including two Embassy employees, were officially detained today in Ukraine by investigators of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs for violation of Ukrainian laws.

Fedorchuk, Hilaszek, and Mostranskyy will appear today in United States District Court for their initial appearance on these charges.

No comments: