Earlier today, at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip, New York, Grigoriy Dekhkanov, a Queens resident, was sentenced to 72 months in prison for his role in a mail fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.
The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Michael E. Seremetis, United States Secret Service (“USSS”), Long Island Resident Office, Resident Agent in Charge; and Edward J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (“SSA-OIG”).
According to court filings and the government’s factual recitation at the guilty plea and sentencing proceedings, between May 1, 2011 and July 20, 2011, when the scheme was broken up by law enforcement, defendant Grigoriy Dekhkanov, together with co-conspirators Rohit Gulati, Monish Patel, and others, stole personal identity information (names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, and credit information) for 26,000 individuals from a medical billing company operated by Patel’s father, located in New Hyde Park, New York. Approximately 200 of these identities were used to apply for credit cards. “Runners” employed by the conspirators then used the credit cards to buy high-end electronic equipment and devices, mobile telephones, gift cards, and gold, which items were resold for cash. On July 21, 2011, when USSS and SSA-OIG agents executed a search warrant at a Sands Point rental home used by the organization, agents found envelopes containing fraudulently obtained credit cards and fake driver’s licenses in the names of identity theft victims, as well as gift cards and receipts showing that the organization had taken in $28,000 over the four days preceding the search. Agents also recovered a mobile phone containing the identity data for all 26,000 victims.
In April 2012, Dekhkanov pled guilty in federal district court in Central Islip to mail fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco imposed sentence earlier today.
In November 2011 and April 2012, respectively, Dekhkanov’s principal co-conspirators, Monish Patel and Rohit Gulati, each pled guilty to mail fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. Gulati was sentenced on March 8, 2013, to three years’ imprisonment. Patel is awaiting sentence.
“This identity theft scheme was stopped in its tracks only a few months after it began, by the quick action of dedicated law enforcement agents. Because the agents promptly discovered and put a stop to the fraud, only 200 out of the 26,000 stolen identities were compromised. Nevertheless, the amount of the loss – $749,000 – from the use of the 200 of the stolen identities is staggering.” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This case exemplifies how law enforcement works to protect consumers in the digital age.” Ms. Lynch thanked the United States Secret Service and the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General for their work on the case.
USSS Resident Agent in Charge Seremetis stated, “The U.S. Secret Service recognizes the consequences to those affected by identity theft and is committed to combating this criminality with the assistance of agency partnerships at every level.”
SSA-OIG Special Agent in Charge Ryan stated, “This office is pleased to have brought this case to a successful conclusion, and grateful to the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney for their perseverance. The integrity of the Social Security Number (SSN) is among our highest priorities, and as this case demonstrates, the SSN is often a key tool in the commission of large scale financial institution fraud. SSN misuse can have devastating consequences for the true SSN holder, and has a significant impact on corporate America. Concerted efforts such as we have seen in this case send a strong message that SSN misuse will not be tolerated and that drastic consequences await those who commit such crimes.”
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allen L. Bode.