A 2014 case unsealed Thursday revealed that two men from Sacramento and two from Los Angeles were indicted on defrauding 119,000 credit card account holders between 2011 and 2014.
The defendants are being accused of being part of a scheme that stole money from credit card holders, credit card companies and credit card payment processors like Paypal.
The defendants allegedly placed false charges through at least 70 fictitious businesses, transferred that money to the bank accounts of the victims, and then withdrew cash from those personal accounts.
Some of those businesses were registered under unsuspecting victims’ own names. One of the defendant’s methods of identity theft included obtaining stolen copies of student transcripts from Sacramento area high schools.
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In March 2014, Mihran Melkonyan, 35, of Sacramento, and Rouslan Akhmerov, 41, of Los Angeles, were charged with 23 counts of wire fraud and mail fraud. In 2015, two more men were added to the indictment: Ruslan Kirilyuk, 37, of Los Angeles, and Aleksandr Maslov, 34, of Sacramento.
One of the defendants, Kirikyuk, is not in custody. There is a warrant for his arrest. Akhmerov already pleaded guilty to credit card fraud in December and awaits sentencing in custody, while Melkonyan was arrested in April. Maslov was taken into custody on Sept. 1 and subsequently released on bond.
If convicted, the defendants each face 20 years in prison and a $6 million fine if convicted on all counts of wire and mail fraud. The total amount of money the men defrauded has not been specified.