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Russian man sentenced in car crash scam

Posted: April 15, 2013 - 12:04am

ANCHORAGE — A Russian man who staged car wrecks in Anchorage and fraudulently collected insurance checks will serve a year in prison and be deported.

Rustem Mukhametshin, 26, was arrested in October as he attempted to board a jet for New Jersey.

He pleaded guilty in January to four counts of wire fraud.

He was ordered last week to pay $70,000 in restitution and to submit to three years of court-ordered supervised release before he leaves.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that Mukhametshin left Russia for the United States in 2007 on a student visa.

His attorney in a sentencing memorandum said Mukhametshin intended to work, save money and return to Russia. However, he overstayed his visa, ignored an order to depart, and because he could not work legally, turned to buying and selling vehicles, the memorandum said.

“Somewhere along the way, his judgment was clouded and he substituted easy money for hard work,” his lawyer wrote. “Mr. Mukhametshin regrets his lapse in judgment. He is a young man, and — as young men often do — he made an impetuous decision and failed to think about the long-term consequences of his actions.”

Prosecutors said Mukhametshin bought cars that had been designated as “totaled,” made minimal repairs, registered them and insured them.

He staged crashes, usually at night in remote Anchorage locations to avoid witnesses, prosecutors said.

“The (insurance) companies assume that the vehicle being insured is of a reasonable condition, making its value consistent with other cars of the same make, model, production year, and mileage,” prosecutors wrote. “Mukhametshin exploited that practice by buying damaged cars at rates well below the standard value, and then staging accidents with the damaged cars he purchased.”

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