Two U.S. Citizens Arrested for Smuggling $500,000 Worth of Luxury Goods to Russia!

US DOJ arrests men over sanctions violations
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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the authorities had arrested two Russian-born U.S. citizens for allegedly conspiring to export nearly half a million dollars worth of luxury goods, specifically snowmachines, and associated parts, to Russia without the required licenses. The suspects, Sergey Nefedov, 40, of Anchorage, Alaska, and Mark Shumovich, 35, of Bellevue, Washington, were taken into custody.

According to an indictment Nefedov and Shumovich are accused of operating a scheme to smuggle the goods from the U.S. to Russia in violation of U.S. export laws.

The indictment alleges that from March 2022 to May 2023, Nefedov and Shumovich conspired with individuals in Russia and Hong Kong to bypass U.S. export restrictions imposed on luxury goods to Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. The scheme involved using an intermediary company in Hong Kong to ship the goods to Russia.

The indictment details how a Russian national, referred to as Co-Conspirator 1 (CC-1), contracted with another Russian national in Hong Kong, Co-Conspirator 2 (CC-2), to facilitate the illegal shipments. CC-1 created invoices for CC-2’s company to purchase the snowmachines from Nefedov’s company, Absolut Auto Sales LLC. The scheme involved misleading U.S. distributors and freight forwarders about the final destination of the goods, falsely claiming they were destined for Hong Kong.

The authorities have seized all the snowmachines involved in this case. Nefedov and Shumovich face multiple charges, including conspiracy to unlawfully export goods, false electronic export information activities, smuggling, unlawful export without a license, and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. The charges carry severe penalties, with potential prison sentences ranging from five to 20 years.

A federal district court judge will determine the sentences after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The United States has also announced its intention to seek forfeiture of the assets involved in the criminal scheme for transfer to Ukraine.

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