Convicted Rego Park money launderer gets more than a decade behind bars: Feds

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A Rego Park businessman will spend more than a decade in federal prison for laundering millions of dollars obtained from computer hacking, healthcare fraud, defrauding a government agency and operating an international unlicensed money-transmitting business.

Djonibek Rahmankulov, 35, was sentenced to 121 months in prison on March 17 after he was convicted at trial in September.

According to the superseding indictment, evidence presented at trial, and statements made in court, between 2017 and September 2020, Rahmankulov operated a network of shell companies that were used to launder millions of dollars of criminal proceeds from multiple types of criminal activity. Rahmankulov worked with computer hackers who fraudulently gained control of the bank accounts of victims located across the United States and executed millions of dollars in fraudulent wire transfers into bank accounts opened by Rahmankulov and his co-conspirators.

He received wire transfers into bank accounts he created as well as bank accounts he instructed others to create and laundered the proceeds through multiple additional bank accounts to prevent the victims and the banks from recovering the stolen funds.

Additionally, according to the indictment, Rahmankulov worked with a network of pharmacies engaged in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. These pharmacies submitted millions of dollars of fraudulent billing for HIV medications that they did not dispense or obtained illegally, including repurchasing medications from HIV patients who were Medicaid recipients. Rahmankulov created companies to receive these criminal proceeds from the pharmacies and laundered them through a variety of means, including using them to fund an unlicensed money-transmitting business that illegally moved money to and from multiple countries, including Iran.

In 2020, Rahmankulov filed fraudulent applications for COVID relief loans from the Small Business Administration for multiple companies he controlled, according to the indictment. He laundered the proceeds of loans and grants through these companies. Rahmankulov also made a number of materially false statements to financial institutions in connection with his money laundering schemes, both when opening bank accounts and when executing financial transactions with those bank accounts.

“Djonibek Rahmankulov laundered money for a living,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “He exploited the financial system to launder millions of dollars from multiple fraudulent schemes and repeatedly lied to banks to operate his illegal enterprise. Once caught — and even after he was convicted — the defendant continued to show that he believed he was above the law by threatening a witness and submitting false information to the court.”

Rahmankulov sought to obstruct justice during the investigation, according to federal prosecutors. In the months before trial, Rahmankulov instructed a witness to lie to law enforcement and threatened the witness stating that if he went to prison, “I will drag you all down with me, and once you are there, then I will have my revenge.”

The witness testified at trial despite the intimidating ultimatum from Rahmankulov, who also submitted multiple letters to the court purporting to show support from his community, but two of the letters were fraudulent and had not been written by the purported authors.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams sentenced Rahmankulov to 121 months’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay a forfeiture of $5,413,278 and a fine of $40,000. Williams praised the FBI’s New York Money Laundering Investigation Squad.

“Today’s sentence reflects that this office will find and prosecute those who seek to abuse the U.S. financial system to launder dirty money,” Williams said.