Bulgarian Pleads Guilty in US Money Laundering Scheme

Crime | April 12, 2011, Tuesday // 13:50|  views

Bulgarian national, Georgi Pletnyov, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison in the US for money laundering. File photo

A Bulgarian national pleaded guilty Monday in a Washington, DC, federal court for his role in laundering money for an international group based in Eastern Europe.

Georgi Vasilev Pletnyov, 49, of Svishtov, Bulgaria, pleaded guilty to one count each of money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy after being extradited from Poland in May 2010. He is scheduled to be sentenced August 22.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

In addition to Pletnyov, Roman Teodor, a Romanian national and co-defendant in the case, appeared before the same same court. He was arraigned on the same charges and ordered detained.

According to the indictment, Pletnyov allegedly participated in a scheme that operated from July 2005 through May 2006, which involved the posting of advertisements on eBay and other websites, fraudulently offering expensive vehicles and boats for sale that the conspirators did not possess.

The indictment alleges that when the US victims expressed interest in the merchandise, they were contacted directly by an e-mail from a purported seller.

According to the indictment, the victims allegedly were then instructed to wire transfer payments through "eBay Secure Traders"—an entity which has no actual affiliation to eBay but was used as a ruse to persuade the victims that they were sending money into a secure escrow account pending delivery and inspection of their purchases.

Instead, the victims' funds were wired directly into bank accounts in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland that were controlled by co-conspirators.

Pletnyov was originally charged on January 9, 2008, along with five additional defendants: Roman Teodor, Ivaylo Vasilev Pletnyov, Nikolay Georgiev Minchev, Georgi Boychev Georgiev and Antoaneta Angelova Getova.

On October 8, 2010, Georgi Boychev Georgiev was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in this scheme. The US and foreign partners are still looking to find Antoaneta Angelova Getova.

On December 2, 2009, Ivaylo Pletnyov and Nikolay Minchev were sentenced to four years and 30 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the money laundering conspiracy.

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Tags: Georgi Vasilev Pletnyov, money laundering, Washington DC, federal court, eBay


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