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The scammers, who had scammed 400 U.S. citizens were convicted of Internet scam in Mari El.

• Date: Jan 18, 2011 • Source: http://vz.ru

The activity of the criminal group, which cheated more than 400 U.S. citizens during three years under the guise of dating with the girls through the Internet was stopped in the Republic of Mari El. It was reported in the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia on Monday that the investigators had determined a huge number of fraudulent acts in the capital of Yoshkar-Ola - Mari El and the nearby village of Medvedevo, where the group of young people had been renting apartments from September 2004 to July 2007. They opened their own offices, installed up to ten computers in each apartment and hired 15 people, (mostly students) who worked on them in shifts twenty-four-hour. “They had an email correspondence with with foreigners under the pretext of dating on behalf of the residents of the republic. During the correspondence they offered the foreigners to send their money transfers to “the beloved” for their various needs. The amount of transfers ranged from 100 to 4 thousand dollars”, noted in the Prosecutor General's Office, according to ITAR-TASS. The funds they received were spent for developing “their business" - for renting apartments, the purchase of electronic equipment to pay for protection services. According to the investigators, 412 foreigners became their victims, most of whom were U.S. citizens. The damage from the crimes amounted to more than 9 million rubles. “The activity of the criminal group was stopped by the Department of the Russian Federal Security Service of the Republic of Mari El in the result of a special large-scale operation, during which 14 offices were quickly closed and the key figures and founders of the criminal group were arrested, more than 100 computers and 10 sets of satellite equipments were confiscated. The total number of the arrested was more than 60 members of the criminal group”, informed by the Prosecutor General's Office. The investigation of the case was led by the investigative branch of the Department of the FSB of Mari El with the participation of Law-Enforcement of the Republic and the Immigration and Customs Investigation Service of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The City Court of Yoshkar-Ola found the ten defendants, aged 22 to 29 years, guilty of the scam against the citizens of the United States and Canada. The court sentenced the head of the “office” Alexei Trushkov to four years imprisonment in a penal institution and a fine of ten thousand rubles. The other nine defendants received five years of probation, each of them has to pay a fine of five thousand rubles. Soon other 15 people, who worked in another “office” will appear before the court. The investigation in respect of the other 39 defendants, among whom leaders of the organized group is continuing. The new internet scam appeared in the 1990's and those, who do it are called “scammers” (it is from the English word a scam, what means a fraud or cheating). It refers now to possible marriages with Russian brides and has become one of the most common way of cheating. According to the Russian bureau of Interpol, there have been a huge number of marriages scams against foreigners, including Internet ones in recent years, and the organized groups appeared both in Mari El and in Kirov regions. According to the Interpol, only in 2006, the amount of finance transferred in the course of the marriage scams was approximately 15 million EUR. The victims of the cheaters or scammers have become the citizens of 24 countries including USA, UK, Canada, Austria, Italy, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Turkey, UAE, Yemen, Malaysia and others.