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An open letter to the public, journalists, law school academia etc.
Manhattan Detention Complex
125 White Str.
New York, NY 10013
An open letter to the public, journalists, law school academia, Bankers, and E-commerce industry leaders.
My name is Vadim Vassilenko (41). I would like to bring to your attention the criminal charges leveled against my company Western Express, my wife, me, and another employee by the Manhattan District Attorneys Office, headed by Assistant District Attorney John Bendler, One Hogan Plaza, NY,NY 100138. Tel:(212)335-3541; fax:(212)335-9121
The charges are: INTERPRISE CORRUPTION, MONEY LAUNDERING, and other. An asset forfeiture of $53.4 million dollars was leveled against corporate funds, corporate clients, as well as my personal and retirement funds, including real estate holdings in different states.
I will be very grateful if the press, law schools academia, and community leaders, will pick-up coverage on the so-called “WESTERN EXPRESS CYBER CRIME GROUP”. Please feel free to attend my pre-trial and trial hearings. The next hearing is scheduled for Thursday July 23, 2008 at 10A.M. at the New York Supreme Court located at 111 Centre Str. Part 46, New York, NY 10013. Honorable Judge Bruce Allen presiding.
You can check for the next court schedule by visiting [the website for the state courts of New York] or [some other site] (defendant Vadim Vassilenko). You can also order a copy of the indictment by calling the New York Supreme Court at (212)374-8049(2188). The indictment numbers aare:3782/07 ; 828/06
The New York District Attorney’s Office has unlimited resources which I do not have. More than 30 different agents. Prosecutors, and state troopers were used to prosecute my company. A complete list of prosecutors is available upon request.
Since my corporate and personal assets are frozen (not confiscated yet) my company is being represented by the court appointed attorney Seema Iyer 275 7th Ave, NY, NY 10001; tel:([deleted]; fax:[deleted]. I am being represented by attorney and Dr. at Law John P. DeMaio 75 Maiden Lane #203, NY, NY 10038; tel:([deleted]; fax:[deleted]
My wife and I came to the United States 16 years ago from the former Soviet Union and deeply believed in freedom of speech, and we were surprised to discover that my business assays and articles on various web sites including my own [bad site!] and [bad site!!] were translated from Russian out of contexts without my permission and then used in the indictment papers (look at the indictment pages 89-92). I believe it is a violation of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and a violation of the Copy Wright Laws (pro bono Constitutional and copy wrights attorneys are welcome). I am asking the media to come forward and stand-up for me, because it can be any journalist, writer, or talk show host content taken out of context and used to build a criminal case. The prosecutor should use all of my writings or non of them. I wrote more than 500 articles on different issues.
Since the very beginning our business has been in full cooperate with U.S. authorities. We were registered with the U.S. Treasury Dept. as a money services business since the year of 2000. We have been responding to all subpoenas and phone calls from different government agencies without any hesitation, helping the government to combat internet related crimes and even the war on terror. I took an enormous legal risk in doing that regularly without an attorney based on the urgency of the government requests and my believes in my innocence (all evidence can be verified).
All statements that I’ve made to the ADA John Bendler, ITU Co-Chief Antonina Merzon, Investigators Jonathan Savel and Michael Wigdor on February 16, 2006, were heavily reduced from 20 thousand words to 2 thousand words.
I was cooperating with the DA’s office on the assumption that I was helping them to understand my business without knowing that they were conducting interrogation and investigation. My Miranda rights has never been announced to me and obviously violated. The prosecutors never made it clear that my statements can and will be used against me and may lead to malty decades of imprisonment.
I was interrogated from 4:59 pm till 9:40 pm. But according to the People’s Voluntary Disclosure Form only two thousand words were recorded during 280 minutes of my full cooperation, which looks like I spoke seven words per minute. The rest of my eighteen thousand words were not recorded at all. My statements were strong and professional.
Besides that, it is absolutely not clear the correlation between questions and answers. I talked non-stop for five hours< but prosecutor has documented what they needed to build the case.
My wife Yelena Barysheva, my company’s employee Tetiana Goloborodko and I are all foreign nationals and were arrested and detained in violation and complete disregard of all treaties on consular relation between the US and Russia, between the US and Ukraine, between the US and the Soviet Union: 19 U.S.T. 5018, 1964 U.S.T. Lexis 65 (http://www.travel.state.gov/law/info…cial_3027.html) ;
28 C.F.R. &50.5 (a)(1) (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_20…/28cfr50.5.pdf) ;
21 U.S.T. 77, 596 U.N.T.S. 261 (http://www.eisil.org/index.php?sid=4…ails&cat= 519) ;
92 Am.J. Int.L.L. 243, 244, 245
U.S. Dept of State Pub. #10518
In respect of that brutal violation, none of us was given an opportunity to talk to our consular or ambassadors.
My Ukrainian passport is the property of the Ukraine and is still being held by the District Attorney’s Office which I believe is a violation of International Treaties too. Seizing a U.S. passport from a U.S. citizen abroad is unheard of.
According to the Laws and Treaties on counselor relations since December 2002, contacting a foreign National counsel immediately after incarceration is mandatory regardless of his/her wishes. I have interviewed many detained aliens on this subject. None of them were given an opportunity to contact the counsel.
Most of the time, when a U.S. National is arrested and detained in Russia or Ukraine, they are given the opportunity to talk to the representative from their embassy, and though if the criminal charges are filed against a U.S. citizen most of the time they are sentenced to probation or not at all. Most of the times they are just being deported back to the United States.
For example, a U.S. citizen Edmond Pope was sentenced to twenty five years of imprisonment in Russia and was deported back to the United states after serving only 285 days in jail ( full story at [bad site]). As well as many others.
My employee Tetiana Goloborodko, who was not a decision maker at the company. She was arrested and sent to the notorious Riker’s Island (http://prisonhelp.com/) detention center, while she was eight month pregnant and left one year old son at home. Her father has died recently of humiliation of his daughter, because he could not believe that it is possible in the United States. Tetiana’s elderly mother living in Ukraine with Tetiana’s two years old son and nine month old baby barely surviving on the $90 a month retirement payment. Both children are a U.S. citizens.
While Tetiana is facing large legal bill all companies assets are still frozen for two years, leaving this women with no means to support her children. The District Attorney’s Office never offered to release at least some of the corporate assets (40 or 50 thousand dollars) to support Tetiana’s children. And only offered just 2 thousand dollars to support my 5 years old son Daniel, who is also A U.S. citizen and was born in the United States. The real needs to support my son are at least $200,000 because of his damaged health and violation of his human rights.
My son is experiencing numerous health problems in the result of psychological trauma of loosing contact with both parents, virtually overnight, for more than 2 years, and living with different families. When my son was mercilessly separated from his parents he had an influenza and body temperature of 103F. Was this really necessary? All medical records are available.
The ADA John Bendler on the affirmation in response to the defendant’s omnibus motion on page 8, paragraph 21, stated that my wife “Yelena Barysheva pleated guilty to every count she was charged with on indictment 3782/07 “. Knowing that every mother will do anything and confess for every crime in the world for the exchange to return to her children. Especially after spending 2 years in jail. John Bendler who represents The People of New York, The Capital of The World, the World’s Super Power, cynically
The Capital of The World, The World’s Super Power, cynically was using tears of innocent 3 years old boy and broken heart of poor woman as an effective negotiation tool, just to gent another conviction record on his rising carrier. As well as using tears of Tetiana’s children and children’s tears of another female codefendant in this case Angela Perez. Really no children left behind program. Who will keep the financial responsibility for all of this, I can only guess.
While incarcerated, I was threatened to have major problems and than forced to take almost 500 anti TB pills with a complete disregard to the fact that a slightly positive TB test was in the result of mandatory BCG vaccination which all newborns had in the Soviet Union. Now I am having a constant and ever-present liver pain.
I came to this country in 1992 having only an American dream in my heart. By working hard I was awarded my green card as a person with an extra ordinary ability in business (under National Interest Program) I-194 form, Immigration Attorney Merrill Cohen (212)499-6644. This status is very rare and very difficult to obtain. I was interviewed for 6 hours by the INS officer Mr. Sergio Braun on October 22, 1998. I came here blindly believing in American values such as freedom of enterprise, presumption
officer Mr. Sergio Braun on October 22, 1998 before he approved it. I came here blindly believing in American values such as freedom of enterprise, presumption of innocence, freedom of speech, including writings on the internet and freedom of a capital movements.
In my worse nightmare I could not imagine, that I would be fighting for the same rights here in America, we never had in the Soviet Union when I grew up there. I could not imagine that I could be fighting internet related charges without having access to the internet, word processing or a printer. Fighting those charges with a broken pen, old typewriter, with no memory or eraser in the prison’s law library. The absence of basic tools and stone-faced librarian, who is not competent on financial related charges put me in and extremely disadvantaged position. Having access to the Grand Jury is also being denied by the prosecutor.
I was blamed and prosecuted for the alleged actions that according to the indictment, customers might have committed and which I did not have control of nor could have any control of, nor had only desire to gain such control. I was working with the New Payment Vehicles such as digital currencies by providing liquidity for the end-user by taking a position on one or another currencies, just like banks were doing for centuries.
My decision making pattern was influenced by the internet culture of constant experimentation , self-reliance, self-regulation, and calculated risk-taking. By studying my indictment, it is my believe that my business was used as an escape-goat and wrongfully blamed for irresponsible inability of many banks and credit card companies to protect their own data from being compromised .
The virtual Monopoly of VISA/Master Card on the consumer to business type of transactions and their attempt to maintain status quo as well as their reluctance to develop new 100% secure and irreversible payment instruments especially adapted for the merciless realities of doing business in cyber space, brought this country to the current identity thief crisis, and my business to destruction.
In my opinion, blaming hackers and spammers from Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, China, South Korea, Pakistan, India, Brazil, and other countries will not solve the Identity Thief crisis in the United States simply because credit cards were not initially designed to be carried over the internet and therefore with today’s realities became completely absolute at least 15 years ago, when identity thief started to grow.
The identification cards and other documents such as birth certificate, social security card, marriage license and other, were adopted when general public did not have access to the scanners and publishing software, colored printers, card embosses or reader/writer. The technological supremacy possessed by the U.S. Government in the past was obvious completely disappointed today.
The whole legal system in the United States was built on the assumption that most criminals will stay in the country forever and spend it lavishly. Therefore will expose themselves. All of them will drive a car and having a driver’s license will be traceable and will be caught rather sooner than later. Today is completely different picture. Therefore unless state ID cards could not be counterfeited at all they are absolute too and cannot be used as a form of confirmation for person’s identity.
It is not Vadim Vassilenko and Western Express, who created and participated in a market place for the global trafficking of stolen credit card numbers. As the district by mistake assumed and claimed on page 3 of the indictment number 3782/07
It is complete domination and irresponsible vulnerability of Visa and Master Card who is really created this notorious market place. Visa/MC is playing an innocent victim and taking no financial responsibility for their own product and lack of reliable security of their own product. Product which virtually was not evolved since it’s invention 40 years ago.
By transferring actual and potential losses on the shoulders of millions of merchants. And then the merchants are spreading these losses on the consumers in the form of higher prices. The higher prices are reducing the national competitive advantage on all products & services sold in the United States at least 6% of gross sales (2-3% actual processing fees and 3% potential loss associated with future charge backs). In the result, at least 6% of 11 trillion dollars economy translates in loss of $1 trillion every 2 years. And even more one could disagree in this figure, but could not disagree that the number is huge.
Operating a wholesale business, manufacturing or selling products abroad where profit-margin itself is only 2-3% is not possible at all, because or the burden to reserve 6% price mark-up to cover processing fees and potential losses from charge backs.
To secure profitable business Visa and Master Card prohibits advertising lower prices if an alternative payment instrument is used to pay for the product, and if they will find out that the merchant is doing that, the merchant account could be terminated, what will bankrupt the business overnight.
By exposing completely outdated products such as 16 digits account number to the internet (actually 10 digits since the first 6 digits of the credit card is the bank identifier) and the lack of security, lured thousands of educated and talented people to become credit card thieves. If a credit card account number could not be stolen or bought it could be easily generated by trial and error. By testing different numbers on the internet anyone can play this casino and win.
Only then these thieves use Western Express, WU, MG, PP, EGold, domestic and overseas banks, U.S. Postal Services, credit bureaus, checks, money orders, gift cards, pre-paid cell phones, e-mails, ICQ, Yahoo Google, printers, scanners, embossers, internet and even electric power to accomplish their dirty endeavors’. As well as destroying my company, stealing my wife’s freedom, my son’s and my employee’s children’s childhood and health. Stealing millions of men hours of law enforcement community and undermining over all ability of this motion to complete.
If only financial services industry leaders could come up with really effective plan to completely secure all financial transactions, the identity thieves would disappear overnight. This is all I can tell publicly without risking to reveal too much information before the trial. My goal is not eve to win the trial (Since my wife and I have decided on May 15, 2007 to surrender our permanent residence status), but rather to be heard by the public while on trial or pre-trial hearings. I will reveal many mind blowing and embarrassing to the prosecution facts, as well as my unprecedented and successful antifraud measures (1-2 fraudulent transaction every 10,000 successful ones). I will reveal my deep knowledge of the industry and understanding the industry needs.
I would like the American public to be aware, especially young internet friendly generation, that this country is rapidly loosing the competitive advantage in the payment processing industry, giving up the initiative to the new rising superpower nations.
I believe that by keeping the same, used to be successful, but new dysfunctional system and by not developing inexpensive, completely secured, instant and reversible payment instruments the identity theft problem will not disappear by itself. By doing nothing this problem will stay with us, destroy us, and hunt us for the last penny we have, unless the best minds from all part of the world be attracted to solve this vital to the prosperity and even national security problem.
Unless someone will declare a national identity theft crisis and act on it in timely and coordinated manner we will continue to live in humiliating fear that tomorrow someone will cash out our loans, working capitals, commit a crime using our name, steal our savings, retirement and our peace of mind.
Please feel free to visit my hearings, bring your friends with you, or write me to
Manhattan Detention Complex
125 White Str.
New York, NY 10013
I only regret that between this blog and work, I no longer have much time to read Russian novels. Thank you Vadim, and good luck.