CLEVELAND — A New York man was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution Tuesday for his role in a conspiracy that skimmed more than $1.7 million from trucking companies. The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Dilshod Sidikov, aka Dema, 26, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to 37 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.
"Criminal enterprises are constantly coming up with new ways to rip off companies, consumers and customers," said U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach. "This group tried to turn truck stops into their own personal ATMs. We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to stamp out these schemes."
"The individuals and groups that perpetuate these crimes are under the false impression that money-transfer scams are low risk and high reward," said Special Agent in Charge Marlon V. Miller of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "Today's significant sentencing and subsequent financial penalties underscore the very real consequences that await those who participate in these types of schemes."
Twenty-six people have been found guilty of crimes related to the conspiracy.
Sidikov and other conspirators obtained account numbers and codes used by independent trucking companies to wire money to the companies' drivers from February 2011through November 2012. They accomplished the objectives of the conspiracy and wire fraud as set forth below:
Electronic fund processing companies (EFP) such as Fleet One, Comdata, and TCH are used by trucking companies to electronically transfer funds to truck drivers at truck stops and other locations throughout the country. Drivers typically obtain the money by providing information to a customer service representative at a participating truck stop. That information is then relayed via wire to an EFP processing center. Once the EFP has authorized the request for money, the truck stop will issue a check to the driver who then cashes it.
From the above period of time, known and unknown individuals obtained account numbers and codes used by trucking companies to issue checks through EFPs. These account numbers and codes were obtained without the knowledge or consent of the trucking companies. The known and unknown individuals then provided the stolen account numbers and codes via telephone calls or text messages to the defendants, according to the indictment.
The defendants traveled to truck stops in the Northern District of Ohio and elsewhere. Once at the truck stops, they posed as truck drivers, approached customer service counters, presented the stolen account numbers and codes, and requested checks from EFPs such as Comdata, Fleet One and TCH, according to the indictment.
Customer service representatives at the truck stops then processed the requests by sending the account numbers and codes via wire to EFP processing centers located outside the Northern District of Ohio. The EFPs then authorized the requests and authorized the truck stop customer service representatives, via wire, to print checks for the defendants. They then endorsed the checks and cashed them at the truck stops, according to the indictment.
In total, the defendants fraudulently obtained a gross amount of more than $1.7 million, according to court documents.