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Man accused of killing identity theft victims gets 30-year sentence

By Chris Boyette, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yakovlev killed three of his identity theft victims, a judge and jury found
  • He is sentenced to 30 years in prison in the case
  • He was also ordered to forfeit $432,050

New York (CNN) -- A man authorities say was part of a Brooklyn husband-and-wife identity theft team has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the deaths of three identity theft victims, prosecutors said Thursday.

A federal jury in March found Dmitriy Yakovlev, 43, guilty of the deaths and identity thefts of Irina Malezhik and Viktor Alekseyev.

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.

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

At sentencing Thursday, U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser found Yakovlev was also responsible for Klein's death.

In addition to the defendant's 30-year sentence, Glasser ordered the defendant to forfeit $432,050, representing the proceeds of the fraud.

Yakovlev faced a possible sentence of life in prison, but U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said, "Today's sentence ensures that this defendant will never again have the opportunity to murder or otherwise victimize innocent victims."

Yakovlev's wife, Julie Yakovlev, pleaded guilty in February to identity theft and credit card fraud for her participation in the plot to steal Malezhik's identity said Robert Nardoza, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office. She was sentenced on August 29 to 36 months in prison.

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.

Yakovlev's attorneys did not return phone calls Friday seeking comment.

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