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Money Launderer Rahmankulov Got 121 Months Now US Wants 60 on Rahmatov

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 5 – Sherzod Rasulov and three others were charged with operating an unlicensed money transfer business, and money laundering.     

  On June 8, 2021 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.  

 The defendants were out on bond, with permission to travel for such things as Uber employment (as to Sukhrob Sobirov). 

  Co-defendant Shakhzod Yunusov applied for and got permission to travel to Philadelphia for a CDL license.

On June 8, Yunusov said he'd like 30 days in this case. It was granted, to July 8.

On June 10, A2B Transportation filed a petition to determine its interest in the $80,551.39 seized in its TD Bank account from an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the SBA. It wants the money.

On September 7, 2021, counsel to Sukhrob Sobirov filed for permission for Sobirov to go on vacation to Florida. He filed it under the Magistrates Court docket number, 20-mj-8521.

Jump cut to August 25, 2022: co-defendant Djonibek Rahmankulov is on trial before Judge Abrams. The prosecutor showed the jurors on screen TD Bank account statements including a $45,000 wire to Nodira Transport of Rego Park, ostensibly from Congregation Mosdos Toldos Aharon. But that Congregation never did business with the Nodira Moving company. What did TD Bank know, and when?

On August 26, more TD Bank document, this time payments to a range of Iranian-Americans who said the payments consistent of money from their relative in Iran who could only send it this way due to US sanctions. There was Benyamin Famici and payments EZ Seven Wholesale, then DC-area dentist Reza Tahernia who said the funds were from his brother in Iran, including to buy a gift for his son. Of these, there was no cross-examination.

On August 29, initial co-defendant (now cooperator) Artur Sattarov was on the stand, describing how he laundered money for Arkadiy Khaimov and Dilmurod Nazarov through companies he set up with Wholesale and Transportation in their names.

 The prosecutors put up a demonstrative of teh money going through China - CCP flag on the screen - to Uzbekistan.  Sattarov was asked, why do Uzbeks do this?

He said, because Uzbekistan's government is corrupt, and there is no foreign exchange rate, and they do not want to get in trouble (there).

On August 30, the prosecution had on the stand an expert about pharmacies scams: selling drugs that are not legitimately obtained, ripping off Medicare, Medicaid and US taxpayers. The cross examination consisted of questions about previous cases worked on.

On August 31, in Rahmankulov's lawyer's closing argument, he said the prosecution "only wants to win," and used fully seven cooperators. He said, of his client's community, that these people trust each other, that's why they sign checks with the Payee left blank. He urged the jurors to get out of the law enforcement mind set.

On September 1, Rahmankulov was found guilty - and then remanded to detention. Inner City Press was there in Courtroom 105 and live tweeted here:

Now in referenced money laundering case US v Rahmankulov, ranging from Uzbekistan through China to Iran.

Rahmankulov is out on bail, now sitting in gallery. No Marshals here - yet. There would be, if US ready to request remand to prison.  Three more supporters, and a kid, arrive in  Courtroom 105. 

VERDICT: GUILTY. Now remand hearing. 

AUSA: He's dangerous. On bail, he tried to change witnesses' testimony.

AUSA: He threatened to take revenge on witnesses.He faces well over 10 years. He faces deportation after.  Four kids in courtroom now.

 AUSA: Rakhmankulov was laughing during trial. Detain him. Defense: He has four kids, all born here, so citizens. He entered through Mexico and is seeking asylum.

Rakhmankulov has his head down, awaiting decision. He already has a GPS ankle monitor. Defense lawyer: I told him it probably wouldn't go our way today. He came without his phone. But he came.

 Judge Abrams: Give me a few minutes.  Uzbek kids, very cute, just passed by to put in courtroom gsrbage pail Cheerios that fell on the floor. 

Now Judge Abrams back: I am ordering remand, mostly on risk of flight, some danger.

Judge Abrams said the children made it a particularly difficult decision for her.

Rahmankulov started crying, and two Marshals moved in...

On December 1, the co-defendant Kuliev got a year and a day: "JUDGMENT IN A CRIMINAL CASE as to Fariddun Kuliev (6). THE DEFENDANT: pleaded guilty to count (2). All open counts are dismissed on the motion of the United States. IMPRISONMENT: 1 year 1 day. The court makes the following recommendations to the Bureau of Prisons: The defendant shall surrender for service of sentence at the institution designated by the Bureau of Prisons: before 2 p.m. on 2/10/2023. SUPERVISED RELEASE: 3 years. ASSESSMENT: $100.00 due immediately. RESTITUTION: $487,200.00. Name of Payee: Small Business Administration. The defendant shall forfeit the defendant's interest in the following property to the United States: A separate Consent Preliminary Order of Forfeiture as to Specific Property/Money Judgment in the amount of $5,338,701 was issued on July 5, 2022. (Dkt #141) (Signed by Judge Ronnie Abrams on 12/1/2022) (ap)

On March 3, 2023 Rahmankulov filed his sentencing memo through counsel, arguing that his guideline is "more appropriately 121 - 151 months or 97 to 121 months."

On March 10, the US Attorney's Office asked for more than 120 months, writing that at least two of the letter submitted as part of his sentencing submission were fake: "The authors of these two letters informed the FBI that they did not know the defendant and had not authored these letters."

On March 16, Rahmankulov's lawyer responded that his client had a photo with Ramon Khanimov and helped his charitable organization. Cryptically, as to Rabbi David Akilov, it syas Rahmankulov "did not request any such letter and apologizes for the submission of this letter." But how did it get submitted?

On March 17, Rahmankulov got 121 months: "DJONIBEK RAHMANKULOV was sentenced today to 121 months in prison for laundering millions of dollars in criminal proceeds obtained from computer hacking, healthcare fraud, and Small Business Administration loan fraud, as well as operating an international unlicensed money transmitting business."

On April 7 Rahmankulov, now pro se, filed a motion for bail pending appeal, arguing among other things that the bank fraud count was "constructively amended."

On May 8 Judge Abrams ruled: "Rahmankulov's Section 2255 petition is denied without prejudice. Because the petition makes no substantial showing of a denial of a constitutional right, a certificate of appealability will not issue. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253. The Court certifies under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this order would not be taken in good faith, and therefore in forma pauperis status is denied for the purpose of an appeal. See Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 44445 (1962). (Signed by Judge Ronnie Abrams on 5/8/2023)."

On June 5, 2024, the US on co-defendant Jasur Rahmatov asked for 60 months, with sentencing set for June 12.

The overall case is US v. Rasulov et al., 20-cr-653 (Abrams)


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