Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Economic Crimes Unit
Patrol Operations Bureau
United States Secret Service
Florida Attorney General, Statewide Prosecutors Office
Chicago Police Department
National Insurance Crime Bureau
Address: 291 Keating Drive, Largo
Address: 2461 61st Lane, St Peterburg
11440 8th Way N., St.Petersburg
Address: 4046 11th Street N, St. Peterburg
Address: 600 Brookside Drive, Clearwater
All suspects are arrested for racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering
5 suspects are still being sought
Multiple Financial Institutions including: J.P. Morgan Chase Co., Wachovia, Achieva, Capital One and Citibank
What: Detectives assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit in partnership with the United States Secret Service, and the Florida Attorney General’s Statewide Prosecutors Office have arrested 5 of 10 targeted suspects in a joint operation. The arrests are the culmination of a three-year-long investigation into a 3.1-million-dollar racketeering scheme involving luxury vehicle fraud and credit card fraud.
Where: The suspects were arrested in Pinellas County.
When: The suspects were arrested on Thursday, March 15, 2012. The investigation began in 2008.
***Update on April 2, 2012 at 12:50 p.m.***
According to detectives assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit, one additional suspect is in custody at this time.
Nikolay Angelov Poibrenski, DOB:07/26/1970, turned himself in to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at about 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 2, 2012.
Poibrenski is arrested for racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.
Four additional suspects are still being sought.
The investigation continues.
5 of 10 targeted suspects were arrested on March 15, 2012 for racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.�
According to investigators, the suspects engaged in obtaining lines of credit in the form of credit card accounts and vehicle loans by providing false and/or inflated information to the lending institutions; and subsequently defaulting on those lines of credit.
The credit card activities centered on the creation of multiple fraudulent credit card accounts. The suspects would then use the credit cards to make high dollar purchases through collusive or shell corporations before the accounts went into default. While the credit card applicants listed on the merchant account applications were listed in the names of several of the above listed suspects, the majority of the depository accounts were linked and funneled to suspect Tihomir Botchev.
Detectives say Botchev arranged for each of the suspects to be affiliated with a Florida or Illinois registered corporation for the purpose of utilizing said corporation as employment verification on the applications submitted to the financial institutions; and to establish a merchant account in order to conduct the credit card transactions.
On the credit card side, the suspects are responsible for an estimated 1-million dollar loss to the financial institutions.
According to detectives, the funds from the fraudulent credit card transactions were then used to finance the vehicle fraud activities.
Detectives say after the suspects obtained a vehicle loan, the suspects arranged for the high-end vehicles purchased with said loan to be shipped overseas where the vehicles were sold. The suspects accomplished this by titling and registering the vehicles in the State of Illinois; using the shell corporations to uttered satisfaction of leans, thus enabling the suspects to obtain the clear vehicle titles needed to ship the cars overseas. The luxury vehicles include BMWs, Lexus’, Audis, Infinitis , Mercedes Benz’ and Acuras. Most have been recovered in the U.S. and Lithuania. At this time detectives say the scheme included 37 vehicles and 46 transactions.
Botchev appears to be the central figure in the organized scheme to obtain the vehicles through fraudulent means and then ship them overseas. Investigators say he was also able to obtain duplicate titles on vehicles he had previously owned and registered in the State of Florida and had other suspects in the organization obtain a second loan on vehicles already shipped out of the country.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri who announced the details of the arrests on the morning of March 16th, praised the good working relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and those agencies who participated in the investigation. “The successful investigation and outcome of this case could not have been possible without the team work and partnerships we have established with the U.S. Secret Service, the Florida Attorney General, Office of the Statewide Prosecutor and the Chicago Police Department ” said Sheriff Gualtieri.
John Joyce, Special Agent in Charge, Tampa Field Office, U.S. Secret Service also praised the long standing partnership with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to address all forms of financial criminal activity. “Through use of a well-developed financial crimes task force, our agencies have demonstrated the value of force multiplication affording investigative benefit to both agencies. By developing and sharing information and pooling our investigative resources, our agencies have put a significant dent into the illegal workings of Mr. Botchev and other members of his organized criminal group,” said Joyce.
“Thanks to a partnership among national, state and local agencies, we have brought down a multi-million dollar fraud ring that has targeted local businesses in the Tampa Bay region. I am grateful to the Secret Service and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for their dedication to stopping this criminal operation,” added Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Suspects not arrested on thus far will be sought in the days and weeks to come.
To view the suspects booking photo visit www.pcsoweb.com and use the “Who’s In Jail” function.
The investigation continues.
STILL BEING SOUGHT: