Upon personal reception by the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia, the Saint Petersburg Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia opened 12 criminal cases under Part 3 of Article 30, Part 4 of Article 159 (attempted swindling), Part 4 of Article 159 (swindling) of the Criminal Code of Russia that are currently joined in one criminal proceeding.
On July 13, 2019, in Saint Petersburg, the personal reception of Alexander Bastrykin was attended by two local citizens, who had visited the Verba medical center for medical examination and qualified medical care in 2019. Personnel of the indicated institution had tried to deceive the women by convincing them that they had been having various illnesses that had required urgent treatment and by suggesting starting the treatment immediately upon payment of about 125,000 rubles by means of a credit contract. The women had refused to sign the contract and left the indicated medical institution. Subsequently, the women had found out that workers of the institutions had been calling senior citizens to invite them to the center and to urge them by different disguises to sign credit contracts to pay for medical treatment that had never been carried out.
It was established during a preliminary investigation that for a long period of time at least four organized criminal groups under the single leadership had been functioning in Saint Petersburg. Participants of the criminal groups had created in Saint Petersburg a number of organizations under the disguise of medical institutions, including AngelMed center (Angelmed-Lesnaya LLC), Royal Clinic center (Cosmetics Center LLC), Verba center (Verba LLC), and Iuventa center (Hermes LLC). In order to attract potential victims, the participants of the criminal groups had placed advertisements of the indicated centers in mass media and on the Internet and created a special call-center.
To implement their criminal intents, the organizers and participants of the criminal groups had developed a general plan of committing offences against an unidentified range of persons, mostly including senior people, that consisted of deception and misleading the latter into thinking of having various illnesses, including serious ones that could lead to grave consequences up to the death. Consequently, they had persuaded the citizens in the necessity of urgent expensive medical treatment. In case of inability to pay for the treatment, potential victims had been forced to sign credit contracts with banks.
The victims had believed the workers of the indicated centers to be professional medical specialists with the relevant education and experience in medical care and treatment of serious diseases. People had been persuaded that refusal from immediate medical treatment in the indicated medical centers would negatively affect their health and future lifestyle; as a result, they had agreed to sign credit contracts. The money under the contracts had been transferred to accounts controlled by the organizers and participants of the criminal groups and spent by the indicated persons.
By now, investigators established 12 episodes of swindling committed by the participants of this criminal group, as a result of which the perpetrators obtained over 1.5 million rubles from the deceived citizens.
Following investigative and search activities carried out in collaboration with officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 11 persons have been currently escorted to the Saint Petersburg Main Investigations Directorate to be subjected to investigative activities to establish their involvement in the committed offences.
Approximately 40 searches at places of residence of the suspected persons and at the indicated medical centers are currently carried out as part of the investigation in order to find and seize the items and documents of interest of the investigation. The investigation is conducting a set of investigative activities aimed to establish all circumstances of the incidents--in particular, to identify other persons involved in committing the offences--and to establish other similar episodes of criminal activities.
The criminal investigation is ongoing under the supervision of the Central Office of the Investigative Committee of Russia.