WASHINGTON, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – A conman who used a Russian exchange student’s identity as part of an elaborate fraud scheme to illegally purchase luxury vehicles in Kansas and then ship them to Russia has pleaded guilty in a US federal court, the Kansas City Star newspaper has reported.
Komitas Grigoryan pleaded guilty Friday to his part in a $200,000 scam, in which he and two co-conspirators stole the identity of Ruslan Sidorov, a Russian exchange student who had left the United States almost a decade earlier, and used his name to buy expensive cars and watercraft on credit, according to the Kansas City Star.
Between February and September 2010, the conmen rented apartments and offices in Kansas City, established bogus businesses, and fabricated paperwork that “proved” the businesses were paying handsome profits to “Sidorov,” the paper reported Saturday.
Obtaining credit on the basis of “Sidorov’s” impressive business record, the men used it to purchase two 2010 Lexus RX350s, a 2006 Mercedes CLS500 and a 2007 Audi Q7, plus two watercraft and a trailer.
They then loaded the vehicles onto container ships and made just enough payments to the credit companies until the ships and their cargo were safely out of port. By time the finance companies noticed the payments had ceased, the vehicles had already been unloaded in a Russian port, according to the Kansas City Star.
Grigoryan was found to have numerous counterfeit identity cards on him when he was detained by US federal agents in February this year on a remote drug-smuggling route in Washington state, just 20 feet (6 meters) away from the Canadian border.
The two other men suspected in the scam with Grigoryan remain at large, the Kansas City Star said. One of them, a 50-year-old whose name was not given, has never been arrested, and the other, 36-year old Artur Galstyan, was arrested and pleaded guilty in 2011, the US Department of Justice said.
But after he was sentenced to 27 months in jail, Galstyan vanished – just like the luxury vehicles he had helped to spirit out of Kansas -- and US authorities believe he is living in Armenia, the Kansas City Star reported.