Russian Father & Son Busted at LAX

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A father and son were arrested as they prepared to hop a plane to Moscow after defrauding Californians of millions of dollars, federal prosecutors said.
     Viktor Ryzhkin, 45, and his son Evgenii, 22, were arrested Thursday afternoon at Los Angeles International Airport, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     The Ryzhkins, both Russian citizens, lived together in the Little Armenia section of Los Angeles. They both had one-way tickets and were charged separately, in different scams.
     The father allegedly sent tens of thousands of bogus invoices to small businesses in California, claiming each one owed a state agency $225. At least 5,000 ponied up, prosecutors said in a statement.
     Prosecutors included a link to the phony “government form” that Viktor Ryzhkin used. He sent it to “more than 170,000 California small business owners,” the U.S. attorney said, demanding payment to “Corporate Business Filings,” a Beverly Hills company set up and controlled by Viktor.
     Father and son tried to flee when Viktor wised up that he was being investigated, prosecutors said.
     Evgenii Ryzhkin is charged with conspiring to take over home equity lines of credit in a scheme that caused at least $1.2 million in losses, prosecutors said. “According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Eygenii Ryzhkin, he was caught on surveillance video depositing a stolen check linked to a hijacked HELOC account.”
     Viktor is charged with bank fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
     Evgenii is charged separately with bank fraud and conspiracy, each punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison.

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