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NY Indicts 17 on Trafficking, ID Thefts

A grand jury has indicted 17 people and a corporation on charges of identity theft, worldwide trafficking in stolen credit card numbers and other crimes committed using the Internet, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The 173-count indictment, resulting from the second phase of a two-year investigation, says the defendants trafficked in more than 95,000 stolen credit card numbers and caused more than $4 million in credit card fraud.

The defendants ran Internet ads saying they had countless credit card numbers and other identifying information to sell to crooks, according to Manhattan Assistant District Attorney John Bandler. One of their Web sites was titled "The International Association for the Advancement of Criminal Activity."

Two of the defendants are a married couple, Vadim Vassilenko, 40, and Yelena Barysheva, 42, who pleaded guilty in September 2006 to falsifying business records and violating New York banking law by running an unlicensed check cashing and money transfer business.

Vassilenko, born in Ukraine, was sentenced to two to six years in prison, and Barysheva, born in Russia, was sentenced to one to three years. Their son, Alexey Baryshev, is being sought, prosecutors said.

The latest indictment charges that Vassilenko, Barysheva and several other people, who were arrested in Brooklyn and Maspeth in New York and in California, Oregon and Louisiana, moved more than $35 million in suspect funds through their service, Western Express International Inc.

Bandler said the defendants provided money transfer and currency exchange services.

Defense lawyer Daniel Gotlin called the new charges against Vassilenko and Barysheva pointless and repetitive, saying many were the same as those charged in 2006. He also said prosecutors were being vindictive because they were disappointed with Vassilenko's and Barysheva's sentences.

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