The U.S. government is seeking forfeiture of real estate, cars and cash left behind by 10 members of a Russian spy ring expelled from the country in July.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara filed the forfeiture request yesterday in federal court in Manhattan.
The Russian agents agreed not to contest the forfeiture of some of their money and property when they admitted conspiring to act as unregistered foreign agents before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood on July 8, according to the filing.
Each of the agents, some of whom had lived under aliases in the U.S. for more than 10 years, admitted to carrying money or coded messages, secretly communicating with Russian officials and telling others how to find information useful to their country.
Included among the property sought by Bharara are: $80,000 in bank accounts held by defendants Vladimir and Lydia Guryev, who used the pseudonyms Richard and Cynthia Murphy; $105,000 in accounts held by Mikhail Kutsik, also known as Michael Zottoli, and Natalia Pereverzeva, who used the name Patricia Mills; and a BMW, a Land Rover and a Volkswagen.
Also sought by Bharara are real properties located in Montclair, New Jersey, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Yonkers, New York.
The agents’ pleas were part of an arrangement between the U.S. and Russia that included an exchange of the 10 defendants for four people jailed in Russia, Wood said at the July hearing.
U.S. investigators broke up the ring on June 28 with arrests in the New York area, Boston and Arlington, Virginia. Wood later sentenced them to time served and ordered them deported.
The case is U.S. v. All Right, Title, and Interest in the Real Property and Appurtenances located at 31 Marquette Road, Montclair, New Jersey, 10cr7467, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).