Ukrainian citizen pleads guilty in federal court to wire fraudBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
May 30. 2018 10:38PM
CONCORD — A Ukrainian citizen living in Salem pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to wire fraud charges in connection with a scam involving gift cards across three states.
Yuriy Khalabuda, 37, of Ukraine, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. district Court, Concord, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Scott Murray said Wednesday.
Khalabuda will be sentenced on September 12, 2018.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Khalabuda and another person used scanned images of Best Buy gift cards on their cellphones to buy Apple products from the Best Buy store in Salem in April and May of last year. On May 13, 2017, an employee of the Salem store saw Khalabuda use scanned images of gift cards to buy merchandise worth more than $2,200 and called Salem police. Later that day, Khalabuda was arrested by Salem police for driving without a driver’s license.
While investigating Khalabuda’s use of the gift cards, the Salem police officers obtained a warrant to search a cellphone found in his possession at the time of his arrest. During the search, investigators found text messages showing Khalabuda was aware the gift cards he used at the Salem store were obtained fraudulently.
“Unfortunately advances in technology provide more opportunities for fraud,” said Murray in a statement. “Prosecuting individuals who fraudulently obtain money and property is an important priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The prosecutors in this office will continue to work diligently with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to aggressively prosecute fraudulent conduct in its many forms.”
“Individuals like Mr. Khalabuda who defraud local businesses drive up prices for all consumers,” said Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge, FBI Boston Division. “This case should serve as a warning to others that the FBI and our law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate those who commit financial fraud and take advantage of others through their criminal behavior.”