17 Indicted in Chicago in International ATM and Money Laundering Scheme
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 17 defendants are facing federal fraud or related charges for their alleged roles in an international ATM skimming and money laundering scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The charges were brought in a 29-count indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on March 12, 2014.
Two defendants were arrested in Sofia, Bulgaria, and 13 defendants were arrested in Chicago and several suburbs by FBI agents following a lengthy international investigation. One is a fugitive and another is in state custody waiting to be arraigned on the federal charges.
The alleged perpetrators fraudulently obtained ATM and debit card numbers with personal identification numbers associated with them, in Europe. They withdrew money from victims’ accounts using automated teller machines at various locations in the Chicago area.
“These charges are the result of the hard work of dedicated law enforcement personnel both here and abroad to address a transnational crime problem that can affect virtually anyone with a bank account and carries significant financial consequences. Cooperation with international law enforcement agencies was crucial to the investigation, and we are grateful for the assistance that led to these arrests,” said Robert J. Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
The indictment seeks forfeiture of approximately $200,000 from 15 defendants as alleged proceeds of the fraud, and it also seeks approximately $50,000 from three of those charged as alleged proceeds of the money laundering.
Among those indicted:
Radoslav Pavlov, 36, of Sofia, Bulgaria. Also known as “Radi,” he is charged with wire fraud.
Mihail Petrov, 41, of Sofia, Bulgaria. He was arrested in Sofia and is charged with wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. The United States intends to seek extradition to face the charges.
Domeniko Evitmov, 46, of Chicago.
Alexander Savov, 47 of Carol Stream, Illinois. Along with Pavlov, Petrov and Evitmov, Savov transferred fraudulently obtained information, often by Skype or e-mail, to Gheorgui Martov, also known as “Mitsubishi” and “Mitsu,” 39, of Schiller Park, Illinois. Charges allege that Martov gave the information to numerous co-defendants to make the fraudulent withdrawals from area ATMs, and the defendants divided the money they obtained.
Martov and his wife, Temenuga Koleva, aka “Nushka,” 37, also of Schiller Park, were each charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying computer files and Internet browsing history during the course of the FBI’s investigation. Koleva is also charged with being an accessory after the fact to wire fraud.
Emil Gospodinov, 44, of Chicago, owned and operated BG Center Rodina, located 4828 N. Cumberland Ave. in Norridge, Illinois. The business transmitted funds via MoneyGram, among other things. He is charged with money laundering conspiracy for allegedly transmitting the fraudulently obtained funds from the United States to Bulgaria and elsewhere.
After receiving funds from Martov, Gospodinov transmitted the funds to Martov’s alleged co-schemers outside the United States using nominee senders and receivers on the transactions to disguise the true identities of those sending and receiving the funds.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory.
Money laundering conspiracy and each count of money laundering carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine or a fine totaling twice the value of the funds involved in the money laundering.
The obstruction of justice count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The accessory count carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $125,000 fine.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Click here to read the full press release.