Credit card fraud boss threatened rival would be ‘cut into pieces’: feds
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter April 20, 2014 11:12PM
Gheorgui “Mitsubishi” Martov, 39, of Schiller Park
Updated: May 22, 2014 6:09AM
The alleged Chicago boss of an international credit card fraud racket has ties to organized crime in Bulgaria, kidnapped a man in Chicago and robbed him of $800,000, ordered a beating and warned a rival would be “cut into pieces,” feds say.
And Gheorgui “Mitsubishi” Martov, 39, of Schiller Park, admitted as much when he was arrested last month, prosecutors allege in a recent court filing.
Indicted alongside 16 co-defendants on March 26, Martov is charged with overseeing the U.S. wing of a massive ATM fraud scheme headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria. Prosecutors accused him last month of dishing out credit card numbers that were stolen in Europe to lower level gang members who then made hundreds of fraudulent ATM withdrawals in the Chicago area using phony duplicate cards.
But allegations contained in court papers filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office Wednesday go far beyond mere financial fraud — painting him as a figure every bit as dangerous as Chicago’s Outfit.
Martov — a playboy who gambling websites show enjoyed success in high-stakes poker games — was seen meeting during what he claims was a “family vacation” with known leaders of the Bulgarian underworld at a Sofia hotel in 2012, the papers state.
And in a secretly recorded call in 2011, Martov told a government informant that he had ordered associates in Bulgaria to attack a man who owed him money, it’s alleged. Martov even played a recording of a call in which the victim described the beating he suffered, the feds say.
In another secretly recorded 2011 call, Martov allegedly said that another victim would be “cut into pieces” the moment he got back to Bulgaria.
Then, in 2012, in a third recorded conversation, Martov told an informant that he and another defendant, Radoslav Pavlov, had kidnapped someone in Chicago and made him take him to $800,000 that had been stolen from organized crime figures, it’s alleged.
Following his arrest last month, “Martov admitted that he and Pavlov had committed the kidnapping and robbery” and that he’d met with the underworld figures in Bulgaria in 2012, the feds say.
The FBI seized 13 guns from his home and estimates that Martov was helping the gang make $200,000 a week from the credit card scam. Martov has a Vicodin addiction and was branching out into marijuana dealing at the time of his arrest, it’s alleged.
The new allegations were made by prosecutors in a successful bid to prevent Martov from being freed on bond while he awaits trial.
Martov’s attorney, Tania Dimitrova, noted on Thursday that Martov has not been charged with any violent crime, adding that the new claims were “completely inaccurate” and were not supported by any evidence.
She pointed out that the government had retracted an earlier allegation that Martov traveled overseas on another man’s passport and said Martov’s legal team “needs time” to disprove the latest allegations.