The Gist: Mani Chulpayev, the leader of a sophisticated car leasing fraud that catered to drug traffickers, was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay over $4.6 million in restitution after a multi-agency investigation.
The Details: Chulpayev operated in the Atlanta and Miami areas from 2009 to 2016, exploiting banks and aiding drug traffickers with untraceable luxury cars. Arrested in Ukraine in 2020, his conviction ends a significant investigation named “Operation Riding Dirty.”
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan highlighted the extensive losses inflicted on banks and individuals, emphasizing Chulpayev’s role in enabling drug traffickers to launder illicit proceeds through exotic cars. DEA and U.S. Postal Inspection Service officials lauded the operation for removing this criminal network and serving as a deterrent to similar activities.
By The Numbers:
- More than $9 million in luxury cars involved, including brands like Bentley, Aston Martin, and Ferrari.
- Over $4.6 million in restitution ordered.
- 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for Chulpayev.
- Additional convictions of coconspirators and corrupt law enforcement.
Why It Matters: This sentencing disrupts a significant fraud and drug trafficking network, demonstrating the effectiveness of coordinated law enforcement efforts against complex criminal operations. It serves as a warning to others involved in similar illegal activities.
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