FEDS: Liberty Reserve Figure Mark Marmilev Shilled On TalkGold Ponzi Forum And Also Hired Shills To Do So; Memo Speaks To Vast Wasteland Of Online Criminality
Mark Marmilev, the technology specialist for the cross-border Liberty Reserve money-laundering operation favored by HYIP scammers and other criminals before its May 2013 collapse, shilled on the TalkGold Ponzi forum, U.S. federal prosecutors said in a sentencing memo.
Marmilev, 35, of Brooklyn, N.Y., also hired forum shills and separately tried to hatch an SEO scheme to “clean up” accurate online references to his boss Arthur Budovsky, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York said in the memo.
U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote yesterday sentenced Marmilev to five years in federal prison.
In Marmilev’s mind, the SEO scheme was needed because a press release by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office about Budovsky’s indictment in a 2006 case was causing problems.
“Marmilev proposed that the SEO expert publish information on the Internet falsely suggesting that the ‘Arthur Budovsky’ behind Liberty Reserve was a different person from the ‘Arthur Budovsky’ who was convicted by the Manhattan District Attorney, but who simply happened to have the same name,” prosecutors advised Cote. “Marmilev’s evident purpose in doing so was to distance Liberty Reserve from Budovsky’s criminal conviction, in an effort to promote an appearance of legitimacy for Liberty Reserve.”
Said Bharara, “Mark Marmilev spent years designing and maintaining the technological architecture that allowed Liberty Reserve to operate a global payment processor and money transfer system that catered to criminals. Now, he will pay for that crime with five years in federal prison.”
There are all kinds of remarkable tidbits in the Dec. 9 sentencing memo, which was posted at the RealScam.com antiscam forum by “NikSam.”
RealScam, which covers international mass-marketing fraud, recently was targeted in an SEO campaign designed to link it to Jihadists and Islamic terrorists. (See PP Blog reference here. See RealScam thread here.)
Court references to the TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup forums as places from which Ponzi schemes are promoted date back years.
In a current case of trying to confuse the public, veteran HYIP scammer “Ken Russo,” also known as DRdave, is using MoneyMakerGroup in a bid to deflect criticism of the emerging “Achieve Community” scheme.
In a Dec. 10 conference call, Achieve Community was positioned as a good outlet for female senior-citizens with ailing husbands to direct cash.
As BehindMLM.com reported today (italics added):
Liberty Reserve’s two founders have yet to be sentenced, but you can bet they’re going to be receiving similar if not harsher penalties than Marmilev’s 5 year sentence.
The jailing of a Liberty Reserve executive comes on the eve one of the larger Ponzi schemes in operation today gears up to announce their new payment processor.
After a short-lived run with Payoneer, they terminated their relationship with Achieve. The scheme has yet to hook up with a replacement payment processor.
Last week news broke that incoming investment into the scheme was now being handled by iPayDNA, but nothing yet has materialized on the withdrawal front.
iPayDNA appear to be accepting investments from Achieve affiliates using multiple unrelated business entities originating out of China.
The PP Blog hopes readers will take the time to read the sentencing memo posted by NikSam. Here’s another tidbit (italics/bolding added):
Aftermath of Liberty Reserve Shutdown. Following the shutdown of Liberty Reserve in May 2013, law enforcement agents monitoring various online criminal forums (such as “hacking” or “carding” forums) observed numerous postings by users of these forums bemoaning Liberty Reserve’s closure and the resulting loss of funds that they had on Liberty Reserve’s system. Many users complained of losing tens of thousands of dollars or more that they had in their Liberty Reserve accounts. By contrast, very few Liberty Reserve users have contacted the Southern District of New York seeking to recoup their Liberty Reserve funds on the basis that they were conducting legitimate business on the site. When the Liberty Reserve takedown was announced to the public in May 2013, users were instructed to contact the Southern District of New York if they wished to recoup their funds.
Notwithstanding that Liberty Reserve had more than 5 million registered user accounts, only 32 persons have contacted the Southern District of New York from May 2013 to September 2014. Similarly, notwithstanding that numerous Liberty Reserve accounts were doing a high volume of business as Liberty Reserve “exchangers,” only one Liberty Reserve exchanger has contacted the Southern District of New York about a potential claim since May 2013, and that claim was ultimately not pursued
NOTE: Our thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.