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Businessman Caught Dealing in Prostitution
On Dec. 3, Magid announced that a grand jury had handed down an indictment against Andrew Mogilyansky, a 38-year-old father of three who lives in Richboro and holds dual Russian-American citizenship.
Mogilyansky, who was arrested on Dec. 2, is facing four counts related to engaging in sexual activity with children, charges that could carry up to 30 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
"All of the victims in this case were young girls who were orphans. The defendant took what little they had -- their innocence and their dignity," said Magid in a press release. "As the indictment alleges, not only did he molest them for his own pleasure, but he treated these children as a commodity -- useful, marketable and ultimately disposable."
Mogilyansky's attorney, George Newman, could not be reached for comment.
A bail hearing began Dec. 8 and was scheduled to continue on Dec. 10. Prosecutors are asking for bail to be denied, according to Patty Hartman, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office.
Mogilyansky is the publisher of the Russian Yellow Pages, and reportedly has a net worth of several million dollars. He is also the chairman and founder of the International Foundation for Terror Act Victims, which was started after rebels took 1,000 or so people hostage at a school in Beslan, Russia. In the ensuing standoff with Russian forces, more than 300 people were killed, including nearly 200 children.
According to its Web site, www.moscowhelp.org, the group has raised more than $1.2 million for the survivors.
While Mogilyansky was not known to be particularly active in Jewish causes, three years ago he ran to be a delegate to the 35th World Zionist Congress in Israel on the slate of RAJI: Russian American Jews for Israel. The group sent delegates; however, Mogilyansky was not among those elected.
In a 2005 interview with the Jewish Exponent, Mogilyansky said: "It's our goal to make sure that the Russian Jewish community stays Jewish."
According to the indictment, from 2002 to 2004, he conspired with a Russian man, Andrei Tarasov, and several others, to set up a prostitution ring that involved teenage orphan girls.
The business was established as a Web site, called "Berenika." The indictment alleges that Mogilyansky invested funds in the illicit venture. Tarasov and the other conspirators were convicted in Russia in 2004, according to Magid. Tarasov is currently serving a 10-year sentence.
Court documents reported that adult and teenage prostitutes were allegedly housed in a Moscow apartment and then moved to another apartment to rendezvous with clients.
According to the recent indictment -- from Dec. 1, 2003 to Jan. 31, 2004 -- Mogilyansky was in Russia, based in an apartment he owned in St. Petersburg. During that time, he allegedly recruited three girls, all under the age of 15, from a St. Petersburg orphanage, and brought them to his apartment for sex.
This was allegedly done as a way to initiate the girls -- whose names were not identified in the indictment -- into the prostitution ring, according to documents.
"Those individuals who commit these heinous crimes abroad and believe they will not be held accountable are sadly mistaken," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations in Philadelphia.
Added Kelleghan: "As shown here today, ICE and our international law-enforcement partners around the world stand vigilant to protect the most vulnerable amount us, our children."