The Billion Dollar Brainy Don – FBI Most Wanted Semion Mogilevich
When we think of crime bosses, we picture the likes of John Gotti, Al Capone, and Jimmy Hoffa.
Hollywood is always recreating movies about the famous dons and it seems like a new film centered around gangsters is brought out every year.
The drama of it all keeps us enthralled- the police vs. the mobsters, mob vs. mob, the assassinations in Italian restaurants.
Take 2: New scene
Enter Semion Megolevich, a Russian immigrant businessman with a degree in economics.
A millionaire running a publicly traded billion dollar company while living in Pennsylvania.
Not your first thought of mobster and the FBI’s Most Wanted. Yet he’s the FBI describes Mogilevich as “the most dangerous mobster in the world.”
The Back Story:
The aging mobster known as “Seve” is called “The Brainy Don” because of his business expertise and his economic degree that he earned in 1968 at the age of 22 (an accomplishment that most gangsters cannot lay claim to).
Two years later, joined the Lyuberetskaya crime group in Moscow. During his time with the group, he served two prison terms for currency-based offenses.
By 1990, Mogilevich was a millionaire because of his fraud schemes and his network of drugs and weapons smuggling as well as prostitution.
In 1998, it was discovered that Mogilevich and some of his associates were behind a public company that was trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company was YBM Magnex International Inc. The discovery was made by Canadian journalists and led to the May 13, 1998 raid of YBM headquarters in Newtown, Pennsylvania by the FBI and other US government agencies.
At the time of the raid, the company was valued at $1 billion, earning Seve the nick-name “The Billion Dollar Don”. Overnight, the shares in the company became worthless. Federal agents were unable to capture Mogilevich during the raid and law enforcement agencies around the world have been in pursuit of him for more than a decade, so that the dangerous and wily criminal can be made to face the music.
Mogilevich had obtained control of one of the largest private banks in Russia, Inkombank, in 1994. Up until 1998, it is believed that Inkombank along with Bank Menatep took part in a $10 million money laundering scheme through the bank of New York. In 1998, Inkombank collapsed under the suspicions of money laundering.
Mogilevich is also suspected of being involved in large-scale tax fraud that sold heating oil (which is not taxed) as automotive fuel (highly taxed) in Central Europe. It is estimated that this fraud caused a loss of nearly 100 billion CZK (approx. $5 billion US) to the taxpayers.
These crimes have made him a wanted man in Russia as well as the United States. In spite of his criminal enterprising, the FBI believes that he is still living in Moscow and running his business from the area.
Mogilevich has been on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “Wanted List” since 2003 for his role in the scheme to defraud investors with YBM Magnex International Inc. Thousands of investors reportedly lost more than $150 million in the scheme, which was allegedly funded by Mogilevich. In April 2003, he was indicted for the fraud scheme but has not appeared in court. The FBI has been unsuccessful in charging the crime boss with prostitution and arms trafficking but hope to make the charges for large-scale fraud stick if they can get him into custody.
In January 2008, Semion was arrested in Moscow for suspected tax evasion and released on bail in July 2009. He was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List October 22, 2009. He is the 494th fugitive to be added to the list.
The charges against Semion Mogilevich from the FBI include Fraud By Wire, RICO Conspiracy, Mail Fraud, Money Laundering Conspiracy, Money Laundering, Aiding and Abetting, Securities Fraud, Filing False Registration With the SEC, False Filings With the SEC, Falsification of Books and Records.
Semion Mogilevich is considered one of the bosses of many Russian Mafia syndicates by both American and European law enforcement agencies.
Claim your $100,000 reward with information about Mogilevich that leads to his arrest from the FBI.