A small measure of justice will be meted out in the case of the mysterious disappearance and presumed death of a reclusive Russian court translator living in Manhattan Beach.
Federal Judge I. Leo Glasser sentenced Julia Yakovlev, 37, to three years in prison, after she pleaded guilty a week before her trial was set to begin, for allegedly collaborating with her ex-surgeon husband, Dmitriy Yakovlev, 43, in the identity theft of Irina Malezhik. The missing 47-year-old Ukraine-born translator, who had no friends or family and “often wore her brown hair in a long braid,” was last seen passing a surveillance camera in her Corbin Place building’s lobby around 1 p.m., October 15, 2007 before she vanished.
It is presumed that Malezhik was murdered by the Russian ex-surgeon “after doing business with him.” He is also charged in the presumed murders of jewelry importer Viktor Alekseyev, who disappeared in 2005 and whose body was found dismembered in a New Jersey woods in 2006, and former NYPD mechanic Michael Klein.
After Malezhik left her Corbin Place residence, the FBI — who are collaborating with the NYPD on the case because “Malezhik worked on investigations involving Medicaid fraud and Russian organized crime” — cannot determine whether the doomed woman “turned left toward Brighton Beach Ave. or right toward the Atlantic Ocean.”
According to TrueCrimeReport.com:
That same day, $6,475 in forged checks from her account were deposited by Dmitriy and Julia Yakovlev of Coney Island. According to police, the couple also got a credit card in Malezhik’s name, using it to burn through $37,000 in ATM withdrawals and going on a shopping spree for jewelry and clothes [at a Century 21 store]. The couple was charged with identity theft.
“You personally represented yourself as Irina Malezhik [while making purchases using her credit card]…to stand here and tell me you had no idea what you were doing, is startling,” Glasser chided Yakovlev, who avers she had no idea Malezhik was missing or harmed.
The case took a desperate turn when Yakovlev’s lawyer told the court that the Seagate resident was fearful of her husband Dmitriy, who she alleged was abusive, but Glasser wasn’t buying any of it: “You knew how to divorce a husband — you did it twice before,” the judge scolded the thrice-married identity thief.
While her husband is, indeed scary — he was convicted of not only stealing the identity of Malezhik, but of Alekseyev, whose dismembered remains were discovered inside of three garbage bags in a New Jersey woods, alongside a disquieting Dracula mask — the alleged abuse was not enough to force Julia Yakovlev out of the couple’s $700,000 Sea Gate, Coney Island home.
Nearly four years after Malezhik first disappeared, the feds have yet to find any trace of her, although a 2009 excavation of the couple’s basement produced panties on the floor of the boiler room with Malezhik’s DNA on them, as well as “a thick envelope containing photos of Alekseyev and an unidentified woman ‘involved in intimate situations,’,” according to FBI agent Tracie Razzagone, in a quote to The Daily News.
Klein, a resident of Greenpoint, who reportedly “lived like a hoarder” in a squalid home, is still missing.