Gheorgui Martov ran an international credit-card cash-out ring based in Chicago.
The feds say he also had ties to the Bulgarian mob.
And he talked like it.
They caught him bragging about beatings, about death threats and about putting a gun to a doorman’s head in an elevator while trying to exact revenge for an arrest.
The feds caught Martov warning a rival would be “cut into pieces,” and they even say he once shared a recorded call of a victim describing a beating Martov had ordered.
On Thursday, Martov said his three years in federal jail left him a “changed man.”
But U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman sentenced him to seven years in prison, calling Martov’s crimes a “direct assault on the system of transferring wealth” that was particularly difficult to prosecute because it crossed international borders.
Still, Guzman noted Martov’s crimes did not involve drugs or acts of violence — despite Martov’s tough talk.
Martov, 41, collected stolen debit and credit card numbers and PINs from accomplices overseas and passed them on to associates who encoded the numbers onto new cards and cashed them out at ATMs around Chicago. They passed the cash back to Martov after taking a cut, and Martov would then pay his suppliers.
Martov allegedly once bragged that he made $500,000 from Russian cards in one week. One of Martov’s co-defendants also once said he was receiving $200,000 a week from Martov’s fast-moving crew in 2011.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Edenfield called the whole thing “Mr. Martov’s operation” and asked Guzman to send Martov away for nine to 11 years.
But Martov’s attorney, Andrea Gambino, basically asked for time served. Her client has been in federal jail for more than three years, but just pleaded guilty in September to one count of wire fraud. She also said Martov has struggled with “a very serious opioid addiction.”
When Martov’s sentence is complete, he is likely to be deported to Bulgaria, where he was born and raised.