Attorney General Becerra Announces Two-Year Jail Sentence in Take Down of Bogus Investment Scheme, Secures Remaining $118,999 Owed to Victims in Restitution

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that Aleksandr Sushko, the operator of a bogus company called Smart Choice, was sentenced to two years in jail for a fraudulent securities scheme that resulted in the theft of approximately $146,598 from four families and the Slavic Assistance Center in Sacramento between 2014 and 2016. In addition, Sushko has also been required to pay the outstanding $118,999 owed to the victims in restitution.

“It takes a pretty depraved heart to cheat families out of their savings,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The sad fact is there are plenty of predatory, bogus companies ready to rip us off in a heartbeat. It takes the hard, dedicated work of our investigators and prosecutors to hold bad actors accountable. That’s what today’s sentencing is really about — fighting to make our communities safe and whole.”

Today’s sentence was the result of a joint effort by special agents and prosecutors with the California Department of Justice. The investigation was conducted by the California Department of Justice's White Collar Investigations Team, which tackles white collar crimes like those that can bankrupt companies, devastate families by depleting their life savings, or cost government agencies billions of dollars. As part of the scheme, Sushko promised the victims that he was investing their money but when the investment was due to mature, he would issue a promissory note to make good on the obligation later, claiming he did not have the money at present. Rather than investing the money, Sushko in reality used it for his own direct, personal financial gain. Today's sentencing comes after Sushko pleaded guilty in February of 2020 to one felony count for operating a fraudulent security scheme.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting public safety and pushing back against dangerous activity in the underground economy. Earlier this month, the Attorney General secured nearly $1 million in restitution and seized approximately $775,000 in counterfeit apparel. Last month, the Attorney General secured a felony tax evasion conviction and seized more than $1.5 million in unlicensed tobacco products. In 2018, Attorney General Becerra filed dozens of felony charges related to human trafficking, labor exploitation, and sexual assault. Earlier that year, he also secured a two-year prison sentence against the owner and operator of a retail clothing store for a multi-million dollar tax evasion scheme.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

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