Brooklyn-based money laundering operation manager sentenced to 48 months in prison in connection with $5 million online vehicle sales scam | USAO-SDNY
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that NATALIA KORZHA and VLADISLAV NECEAEV were convicted today in federal court in Manhattan of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in part of a money laundering scheme from an online vehicle sale scam that generated at least $5.3 million from dozens of defrauded consumers. KORZHA was sentenced to 48 months in prison and NECEAEV was sentenced to 18 months in prison by US District Judge Analisa Torres, before whom they had previously pleaded guilty.
US Attorney Damian Williams said: “Natalia Korzha and Vladislav Neceaev opened or caused to be opened fraudulent bank accounts which were used to launder millions of dollars in criminal proceeds from an online vehicle sales scam. . Without these fraudulent accounts, online fraudsters would not be able to profit from their illegal schemes. Korzha and Neceaev now face jail time and will have to give up their ill-gotten gains.
In handing down today’s sentences, Judge Torres said KORZHA and NECEAEV caused “actual harm to [the victims’] financial well-being” and noted that the victims said they were harmed “mentally, emotionally and physically”.
As alleged in the complaint and indictments, and based on statements made in court:
From at least March 2019 to approximately March 2021, KORZHA ran a Brooklyn-based money laundering operation that included co-defendant VLADISLAV NECEAEV and others. With KORZHA as coordinator, NECEAEV and other co-conspirators opened numerous bank accounts in the name of shell companies in an attempt to launder stolen money from consumers attempting to purchase vehicles online. In exchange, the defendants received a share of the victims’ money.
Other members of the conspiracy, claiming to represent car dealerships, advertised vehicles they did not own and were not authorized to sell on fake websites with domain names that looked like legitimate car dealerships or via online marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay. Victims who responded to these advertisements and negotiated a purchase price were instructed by the alleged sellers to transfer payment to accounts opened by NECEAEV and other co-conspirators. Once the payments cleared, the defendants quickly withdrew the funds before the victims realized they had been defrauded. The victims never received the vehicles or any reimbursement from the bogus sellers. In total, dozens of victims were defrauded of a total of at least $5.3 million.
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In addition to her prison sentence, KORZHA, 50, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to forfeit $5,386,538 and pay restitution in the amount of $5,370,180. .
In addition to his jail term, NECEAEV, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to forfeit $458,300 and pay restitution in the amount of $458,300.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of Homeland Security Investigations and the New York Police Department. He also thanked the Office of International Affairs of the United States Department of Justice of the Criminal Division of the Department, the United States Marshals Service, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Criminal Police Office for their assistance in this investigation.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Bureau’s Complex Fraud and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant US Attorney Sarah Lai is in charge of the prosecution.