Liberty Reserve IT employee sentenced to 3 yrs prison
Maxim Chukharev was one of the seven individuals indicted in connection to the Liberty Reserve payment processor.
A hotbed of MLM underbelly fraud, among other things, Liberty Reserve was shut down for money laundering mid last year.
Acknowledged as being ‘the “least culpable” of seven defendants charged with helping to operate Liberty Reserve‘, Chukarev
was sentenced on Friday to three years in a U.S. prison.
Chukharev was not fully aware of the extent of criminal conduct linked to Liberty Reserve, prosecutors said, but he knowingly helped the site evade U.S. licensing requirements that kept it from the attention of regulators.
Liberty Reserve’s IT Chief was sentenced to five year prison back in December. The co-founders of the processor, Vladimir Kats and Arthur Budovsky, are yet to be sentenced – but one would imagine the penalties they receive aren’t going to see them getting off lightly.
If being the least culpable insider in Liberty Reserve gets you three years, an IT Chief five years, I’d guess sentences of at least seven to ten years are likely on the table.
The news of Chukharev’s jail sentence comes as a number of Ponzi matrix cycler scams are experience payment processor issues.
Probably the most widely know example we’re currently tracking at the moment is that of Achieve Community. Late last year the scheme, which advertises a $400 ROI off a $50 investment, saw their Payoneer processing account terminated.
After a series of failed attempts to find an alternative processor to handle their transactions, along with the launch of an investigation by regulators in Colorado, Achieve Community are once again claiming to have found a new processor.
As per a January 31st update by owner Kristi Johnson,
We have one last bit of coding that the processors are working out so that you all will be able to login to your accounts with them. Everything else is working fine now, so I had rather hoped to be able to say tonight that we were ready.
So, what we’ve done today is get you all pre-signed up with the processor. This means, once that coding is fixed, you will go to your back office, click on the link for the processor and fill in the information there, and, you will be signed up with our processor and approved!
So, we will be able to start paying out right away as you all get signed up! This will begin to go very quickly.
Whereas previously Johnson had named the processors she was in talks with, this time around she is keeping the name of the processor a secret.
This is likely due to Achieve Community signing up under false pretenses, be it using unrelated shell companies or employing money laundering services of offshore companies.
Achieve Community has a history in this area, which lead to widespread reports from their investors of credit card fraud.
Like Liberty Reserve’s Maxim Chukharev, Kristi Johnson is also seeking to evade ‘U.S. licensing requirements that’ keep Achieve Community ‘from the attention of regulators‘.
With an investigation already underway by at least one state regulator though, one imagines her attempts won’t get very far.
Another recent Ponzi cycler also struggling to retain stable payment processor services is Trinity Lines. Offering a $2550 ROI off a $50 investment, an admin update sent out to Trinity Lines investors on January 22nd states;
As of from NOW we will no longer be accepting payments through Paza (sic). We have disabled this option on the site.
You may ask why… well here is the answer to that question…
Our business was fully approved by Payza but they are in the process of freezing funds in other business accounts as we speak.
Due to the fact that our cash rewards constitute 100% of what we take in from product sales, we cannot take this risk.
We are now only using STP as our main processor for money in and money out until our alternative processor comes alive in Trinity next week.
This is exciting for Trinity Lines to have it’s own processor. Why? To protect it from activities and payments systems like Payza, Paypal and others.
As recently reported by Patrick Pretty, other recently launched Ponzi schemes that might be experience payment processor problems include Bring the Bacon Home (actual name) and Cycles 24/7.
By all means the MLM payment processor realm is far from perfect. But we do appear to be seeing an uptick on proactive regulation of blatant investment scams seeking to use their services.
No doubt those running said services are keeping a close eye on development in the Liberty Reserve case, lest they find themselves facing similar penalties in the future.