Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Two Brooklyn Men Charged in Violent Extortion Scheme

A criminal complaint was unsealed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York charging Ruslan Reizin and Mark Krivoi with extortion conspiracy.  The charges stem from the defendants’ alleged extortion and violent assault of a teenage victim who started an awning-cleaning business in Brooklyn that competed with a similar business operated by Reizin.

Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Leon Hayward, Acting Director, New York Field Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.

 “As alleged, the defendants sought to eliminate a business competitor by beating and intimidating him; they also lined their pockets with thousands of dollars in extortionate payments,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “This is no way to ensure a competitive edge.  We will not abide this method of trying to assure a competitive edge.”

“This case illustrates a text book extortion, the suspects allegedly threatening violence because the victim decided to open his own business,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Our country thrives on a free market, and the ability of people to go out and start their own company is part of the American dream.  The FBI and our law enforcement partners will always pursue those who think to bully others into submission, and threaten free commerce.”

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is proud of the expertise we provide in support of investigations that result in the takedown of criminal enterprises,” said CBP Acting Director Hayward.  “It is through interagency partnerships and collaborative efforts, like the one leading to today’s arrests, that law enforcement successfully combats today’s criminal organizations.”

According to the criminal complaint and other court filings, in May 2017, Reizin learned that the victim—who formerly worked for Reizin’s awning-cleaning company—had started a similar business in Brooklyn.  Reizin and Krivoi brought the victim to a secluded location in Sheepshead Bay where Reizin allegedly grabbed the victim by the throat, brandished a knife and gave him the choice of having his ear cut off or his throat slashed.  Krivoi allegedly suggested that they should kill the victim.  Reizin then demanded that the victim shut down his business and pay $10,000 to Reizin and a local motorcycle club to which Reizin belongs, and which Reizin claimed supported the extortion.  When the victim replied that he could not afford to pay, Reizin instructed Krivoi to hit the victim, which Krivoi did, repeatedly.  Reizin then offered the victim a “discount,” requiring him to pay $5,000 in monthly installments.  Reizin also told the victim that he and his family would suffer if the victim reported the assault to law enforcement.  Over the next several months, the victim made regular payments to Reizin.  During that period, in a recorded call with the victim, Reizin spoke about “cut[ting] out” the ear of one of the victim’s family members and “forc[ing him] to chew and swallow it.”

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