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Salamanca ringleader of million-dollar fraud scheme goes to prison

A Salamanca man has been convicted of bank fraud and money laundering in a wide-reaching scam to steal from small businesses across the country.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Sergiy Bezrukov, 35, has been sentenced to 66 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution.

Attorneys say Bezrukov used a number of aliases and the business name of “Corporate Restructure, Inc.” to solicit small businesses in need of debt restructuring. He induced these businesses to stop paying their original obligations and pay him instead.

In total, attorneys say Bezrukov defrauded approximately 200 victims who suffered long-lasting effects.

"The financial and emotional havoc that the defendant wreaked on the victims extended beyond losing money," said the U.S. Attorney's office in a statement. "Victims continue suffering long-lasting effects from bankruptcies, judgments, and damage to their credit history. In some of the family-owned and operated small businesses, Bezrukov shattered the victims’ marriages. As one victim wrote to Judge Vilardo, 'It was so tempting to just end my life, but I couldn’t do it.'”

Bezrukov is described as the ringleader of the scheme. Co-defendants Mark Farnham, Dustin Walker and Vanessa Cardona were previously convicted and sentenced.