Two Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employees pleaded guilty on Feb. 9 to conspiring with another individual to engage in fraud on MTA excess vehicle auctions.
According to two plea agreements filed on Feb. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City, MTA employees Dzmitry Yaniuk and Marina Yaniuk engaged in a conspiracy with a third co-conspirator, Timour Abramov, to thwart the competitive bidding process on numerous excess vehicle auctions conducted by the MTA to ensure that a company controlled by the co-conspirators submitted the winning bid and would be awarded the contract. As part of the conspiracy, Marina Yaniuk, an MTA sales specialist, provided Dzmitry Yaniuk and Abramov confidential pricing information in violation of MTA rules. Abramov previously pleaded guilty to one count of fraud conspiracy on Jan. 30.
“The MTA’s riders and New York’s taxpayers trust government employees to put public service first,” said Director Daniel Glad of the Justice Department’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF). “When public servants abuse their positions and cheat for personal gain, the Antitrust Division and its PCSF partners will hold them accountable.”
“Our office remains grateful for the diligence and commitment from our law enforcement partners at the Department of Justice, who continue to work to ensure that individuals attempting to defraud the MTA are held fully responsible for their actions and whose behavior should not unfairly reflect on tens of thousands of honest, hardworking MTA employees,” said Acting MTA Inspector General Elizabeth Keating.
Dzmitry Yaniuk and Marina Yaniuk each pleaded guilty to one count of fraud conspiracy that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The fines may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victim of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. A federal district court judge will determine the defendants’ sentences after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The guilty pleas are the result of an investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, the Office of the MTA Inspector General, and the FBI Newark’s Atlantic City Resident Agency . Acting Assistant Chief Steven Tugander and Trial Attorneys Milosz Gudzowski, Dina Hoffer, and Richard Samboy are prosecuting the case.
In November 2019, the Department of Justice created the PCSF, a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grant, and program funding at all levels of government – federal, state and local. For more information, visit https://www.justice.gov/procurement-collusion-strike-force.