30 june 2021

Criminal Group Engaged in Extortion Detected

Criminal Group Engaged in Extortion Detected

The National Security Service of RA being faithful to the modus operandi of protecting constitutional human and citizen rights, in particular property rights from socially dangerous encroachments, by consistently combating crimes against property, economy and economic activity, as a result of operative-search measures and investigative actions carried out within the framework of the functions vested upon it by the law, received factual data that a number of RA citizens, having united and reaching a prior conspiracy, being informed that, according to the RA Government decree of 09.09.2010 No. 1251-N, in the event of the loss of paired license plates of the car, the owner is not issued license plates with the same data, instead, to restore the license plates, the owners are obliged to re-pay the cost of registration plates to the appropriate authorities, decided to take advantage of this circumstance, developed a criminal mechanism for theft of other people's property by means of extortion, performed the distribution of roles for its successful implementation.

In particular, the acting accomplices decided at night hours to secretly seize the highly demanded and more expensive registration plates of vehicles parked in different parts of Yerevan city, leave on the windshields of cars the registered usernames used by them in the Telegram network application, and hide the registration plates of vehicles that they illegally seized in hiding places near parking lots that are invisible to other persons.

If vehicle owners contacted the members of the criminal group, then for the return of expensive registration plates, they demanded to take property actions, that is, transfer money to their cryptocurrency cash accounts with the possibility of cashing, threatening to destroy license plates in case of disagreement and non-transfer of money.

As a result of the use of the criminal mechanism, during the period from April to June 2021, the aforementioned persons illegally and secretly took possession of paired license plates with a price higher than ordinary ones - 250,000 AMD and above - of several dozen cars parked in Yerevan city, after which they forced the citizens who had established contact with them to buy cryptocurrency from the cryptocurrency address indicated by them and transfer it to their digital currency wallets. After completing the actions, they informed the owners via short messages where they hid the registration plates of the vehicles.

As a result of operative-search actions undertaken by employees of the RA NSS, in the course of the implementation of the next criminal intent, the identities of the members of the criminal group were identified and they were caught and brought in to the National Security Service of RA.

During the preliminary investigation of the criminal case initiated on the fact in the Investigation Department of the RA NSS, two persons were detained on the basis of direct suspicion of committing a crime. They gave confessionary statements. 

Based on the sufficient accumulation of irrefutable evidence obtained as a result of numerous investigative and procedural actions taken in the criminal case, the mentioned persons have been involved as accused, and arrest has been chosen as a measure of restraint against them.

The National Security Service of RA urges citizens who have suffered as a result of similar criminal scheme, before entering into negotiations with criminals, to immediately inform the RA law enforcement bodies about this in order to carry out effective operative-search measures and detect other groups operating in the Republic of Armenia according to the same criminal scheme.

At the same time, it is offered to the owners of the vehicles, on the windshields of cars of which, after the theft of registration plates, the data of the pages registered in the “Telegram” network application under the names “@RR407”, “LIMONA 001” and “DUDI 001”, “CRIMINAL NIGHT”, “Tutan Hamon” were left, inform the National Security Service of RA about this in order to take measures in  the direction of identifying the full circle of citizens who have suffered as a result of the criminal scheme and repairing the property damage caused to them.

Note: The suspect or accused of an alleged crime is considered innocent as long as his guilt is not proven in a manner prescribed by the Code of Criminal Procedure of RA - by the court decision entered into legal force.