Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Great Moments in Fraud, Part I

February 12th, 2009 · 1 Comment

anatolitsouraIt comes as no surprise that the FBI is swamped with financial fraud cases nowadays. I knew this day of reckoning would someday come while watching The Real Housewives of Orange County on JetBlue a few years back. No financial system that could support such in-your-face opulence could possibly be on the up-and-up. (I remember being most horrified by a mortgage kingpin’s bored wife, who painted her horse’s toenails and drank more martinis per day than Jackie Gleason could handle at his lushiest.)

The fraud wave affords us an opportunity to glimpse back at other great scams of yore. Today’s pick: YBM Magnex, a maker of industrial magnets that turned into history’s biggest pump-and-dump scam. The company was headed by a man named Semion Mogilvech, last seen getting taken down by 50 Russian commandos. (Mogilvech may not have been kicking back enough pipeline wealth to the Kremlin.) There’s plenty more to be learned about the ultra-shady Mogilvech’s in the late, great Robert Friedman’s 1998 Village Voice opus, “The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World”.

The bloke pictured to the right of the post was a Mogilvech crony named Anatoli Tsoura, currently one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. If that’s the best picture they can come up, methinks they’ll have a hard time tracking the guy down. Seriously, dude looks like the leader of a 19th-century polygamist cult, not a contemporary gangster.

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