Russian Brighton Beach restaurateur sentenced to 9 years for fraud
MOSCOW, November 20 (RAPSI) – Michael Levitis, the owner of New York's most famous Russian restaurant Rasputin and participant of Russian Dolls reality show, was sentenced to nine years in prison following his guilty plea in debt relief scam, reads the statement of the Southern District of New York DA Office released on Wednesday.
In addition to his prison term, Levitis was sentenced to three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay forfeiture and restitution of up to $2 million and a fine of $15,000.
Levitis was charged last year with fraud alongside Mission Settlement Agency, a debt reduction company. Five other defendants, Denis Kurlyand, Boris Shulman, Felix Lemberskiy, Zakhir Shirinov, and Manuel Cruz, previously pled guilty for their roles in the fraudulent scheme, and await sentencing.
Mission was also sentenced on Wednesday, ordered to pay a fine of over $4 million, according to the statement.
According to the prosecutors, the agency took fees from clients for debt settlement services it never actually rendered. It also acted as the middle man, collecting payments from clients which were supposed to be passed on to their creditors.
According to the indictment, to achieve his plans, Levitis also claimed an affiliation with the federal government.
Levitis pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges of mail and wire fraud last April. His mother, Eva Levitis, who took the position of the president of Mission Settlement Agency, entered a guilty plea on behalf of the company. She was not criminally charged.