The alleged leader of a tax fraud ring employing Kazakh student visa-holders and a phony job placement website pleaded guilty on Tax Day yesterday, the Manhattan District Attorney announced.
We first wrote about Petr Murmylyuk last year, when he was charged in Newark as the alleged leader of a $1 million securities fraud scheme that involved hacking into the online trading accounts of unsuspecting individuals, and forcing them to engage in losing trades that benefited a network of phony accounts he and his cohorts set up. Later that day, Manhattan prosecutors expanded an earlier indictment of Murmylyuk, 31, charging him with stealing the identities of more than 300 unemployed people and collecting phony tax returns in their names.
According to the DA’s press release:
He recruited a network of eleven Kazakh student visa-holders, typically holders of J-1 Visas, to open bank accounts to receive the unauthorized refunds. MURMYLYUK pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Money Laundering in the Second Degree, and is expected to be sentenced on May 6, 2013.
… According to his guilty plea, MURMYLYUK created a fake employment-related website with the address www.jobcentral2.net. The site offered fictitious job placement services through a program it claimed was “sponsored by the government and intended for people with low income.” MURMYLYUK sent e-mails with a link to his fake website through legitimate job search forums and college listservs and, in the weeks that followed, hundreds of people visited his site and submitted personal identifying information.
MURMYLYUK collected the information submitted to his website, and used it to forge tax returns in victims’ names. Using an e-filing vendor, the defendant claimed fraudulent refunds ranging from approximately $3,500 to $6,500 each. MURMYLYUK successfully obtained refunds in the names of 108 of the approximately 300 different victims who had visited www.jobcentral2.net, yielding more than $450,000 in stolen taxpayer funds.
MURMYLYUK recruited a group of students from Kazakhstan, many located on Russian-language social networking sites, to open accounts at banks across the country and provide their account numbers, online passwords, and other data to MURMYLYUK for use in the scheme. Many of the students returned to Kazakhstan shortly after opening the accounts for MURMYLYUK, were charged in the indictment in absentia.