Sentencing Date Looms in Fraud Case Tied to Mueller Probe

WASHINGTON (CN) – Prosecutors said Monday they will soon be ready to sentence the California man who admitted using stolen identities to sell bank account numbers to Russians suspected of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a brief status conference, prosecutor Ryan Dickey told U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich that he will be ready to set a sentencing date for Richard Pinedo of Santa Paula, California, by the end of the month.

Dickey and Pinedo’s attorney, Jeremy Lessem with Los Angeles-based Lessem Newstat, said they would confer and present a sentencing date by June 28, when they are scheduled to file a joint status report.

Pinedo, 28, pleaded guilty on Feb. 12 in Washington to selling hundreds of bank accounts, some of which used stolen identities, to offshore users including individuals tied to Mueller’s Russia probe.

Pinedo’s plea was announced the same day Mueller indicted three Russian companies and 13 Russian individuals on suspicion they conspired to sow political discord and tip the scales of the 2016 presidential election in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump.

Prosecutors had asked Friedrich on May 29 to refer Pinedo’s case for a presentencing report, the first step in wrapping the case up. According to Pinedo’s plea agreement, the sentencing guideline is 12 to 18 months.

Prosecutors also moved late last month to begin the sentencing process for George Papadopoulos, Trump’s former foreign policy advisor. Papadopoulos has been cooperating with Mueller’s team since he pleaded guilty in October to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with Russian operatives during the campaign.

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