Mikhail M. Tuknov, Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court to debit card fraud and conspiracy to launder money. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.
In connection with his guilty plea, Mr. Tuknov admitted that he obtained debit card numbers and associated personal identification numbers (“PINS”) for bank accounts of actual persons from sources in Russia and distributed those numbers to an associate in the Dominican Republic. The associate then used the numbers to encode blank debit card plastics and delivered them, by a variety of means, to other criminal associates in New York City. The New York City associates used the fake debit cards to fraudulently access the bank accounts tied to these cards at Automated Teller Machines and withdraw cash. The proceeds were sent by a variety of means to the Russian sources who paid Mr. Tuknov his commission and sent new numbers to him to generate more cash. Mr. Tuknov admitted that between August 2005 and March 2006, he moved approximately 1044 fraudulent debit card numbers and 1045 related PINS to his associates, resulting in losses to the issuing banks of approximately $371,000.00.
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