Thursday, November 20, 2008

Igor Klopov sentenced

Its nice to finish a story sometimes, so this brief entry will do that. Back in August 2007, we did a story called How Far Would You Travel for $7 Million describing the undercover sting where Igor Klopov was lured to the United States to be arrested.

Charges were brought against Klopov and described as:

The defendants have been charged with Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Money Laundering in the First Degree, Attempted Money Laundering in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Money Laundering in the Second Degree, Attempted Money Laundering the in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Identity Theft in the First Degree, Forgery in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree and Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices. Money Laundering in the First Degree and Grand Larceny in the First Degree are both a class B felonies which are punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

So, with all those charges, what kind of sentence was actually passed down by New York Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro?

Three and a half to Ten and a half years. WHAT?!?!?!! 3.5 Years!?!?!?

Apparently sentenced are slashed if you're really, really, really sorry.

The story has been used as a case study even before the sentence was reached, with Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Glickman doing lectures on the case from a Summer Intern "Brown Bag" Lunch to a National White Collar Crimes Summit presentation called Piercing the Iron Cyber Curtain: Case Studies in International Financial Crimes

Choosing victims from the Forbes Magazine 400 Richest People list, Klopov had several successful capers, with the largest being the theft of more than $1 million from a Fidelity Investments account belonging to a Silicon Valley couple, before he got stung going for his biggest case yet.

In his last attempt, the target was Charles Wyly. Wyly, who is George W. Bush's 9th largest "lifetime donor", is best known in computer circles as the guy who sold Sterling Software and Sterling Commerce for $8 Billion back in 2000, but the family has also dealt in Oil and Restaurants, and is currently behind a "Green Electricity" company called GreenMountain. Klopov managed to convince JP Morgan Chase to send a checkbook from Wyly's Home Equity Line of Credit account to Charles Dalton in Houston. Dalton then took the checkbook to the group's forger, Watson, who used it to write a $7 Million check to a gold broker in New York. JP Morgan Chase confirmed the check had not been issued by asking Mr. Wyly about it. The US Secret Service, working with the New Yorkers, managed to convince Klopo to come to the US to pick up the gold in person, which is when he got busted, back in May 2007.

More details about the case, including some other fascinating high end identity theft attmempts, are available from the New York County District Attorney's Office's initial press release, where they describe Klopov recruiting forgers and impersonators on online job sites.

His co-conspirators have all plead guilty:

IGOR KLOPOV, 5/12/83
5 Gospitaly
Moscow, Russia

517 Northwood Drive
Conroe, Texas

415 Spring Street
London, Kentucky

8810 Pembroke Avenue
Detroit, Michigan

4200 NW 12th Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

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