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Brooklyn man convicted of killing ID theft victims

From Kristen Hamill, CNN

The remains of identity theft victim Irina Malezhik have never been found.
The remains of identity theft victim Irina Malezhik have never been found.
  • Dmitriy Yakovlev was accused of killing two people and stealing their identities
  • He faces life in prison after his conviction by a federal jury

(CNN) -- A man authorities say was part of a Brooklyn husband-and-wife identity theft team has been convicted of the murder of two of his three identity theft victims, prosecutors announced Thursday.

A federal jury found Dmitriy Yakovlev, 43, guilty of the murders and identity thefts of Irina Malezhik and Viktor Alekseyev, the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn announced. The remains of Malezhik, a Russian-language translator who lived in Brooklyn and worked in the federal courts, were never found; Alekseyev disappeared in December 2005, and his body was found in New Jersey in 2006.

Yakovlev was also found guilty of stealing the identity of a third Brooklyn resident, Michael Klein, who disappeared in November 2003.

"Today's verdicts is the result of years of hard work and dedicated investigation by a team of law enforcement officers committed to bringing the defendant to justice for his crimes," Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement on the verdict. She called Yakovlev's conviction "a successful and satisfying conclusion."

Yakovlev faces a possible sentence of life in prison. No sentencing date has been set.

In addition to the murders, Yakovlev was also found guilty of bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy charges in connection with the stealing of his victims' identities, the press release said.

Yakovlev's wife, Julie Yakovlev, pleaded guilty earlier this year to identity theft charges and is currently out on bail pending her sentencing, said Robert Nardoza, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office. She was not charged in connection with the slayings.

The couple was originally charged in August 2009 with illegally using the identities of three people between 2003 and 2007. Their attorneys did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday.