Man Sentenced in Mall Kiosk Extortion - 8 News NOW

Man Sentenced in Mall Kiosk Extortion

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LAS VEGAS -- A California man who attempted to extort money and ownership of a shopping mall kiosk business in Las Vegas from two former business partners drew a 7 1/2-year prison sentence and $12,500 fine, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.

Moshe Barmuha, 38 of Studio City, Calif., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt. Barmuha pleaded guilty on April 15, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats and violence and one count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering as part of a plea agreement. The sentence included an enhancement for prior violent crime convictions that Barmuha had accrued in Israel.

The co-defendants charged in the case, Yakov Cohen of Las Vegas, Ruslan Magomedgadzhiev and Murad Magomedgadzhiev of Tarzana, Calif., and Lior Zaken of Studio City, Calif., also pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison earlier this year.

From September 2009 to April 5, 2010, the defendants conspired and attempted to extort money from two men, identified in court papers as M.O. and M.K. In July 2007, M.O. and M.K. operated several kiosks in Las Vegas-area casinos and shopping malls at which they sold electronic products such as hands-free microphones. In early 2008, M.O. and M.K. began expanding their business to include retail women's cosmetics and skin care products, and entered into a partnership with Cohen, a competitor who also operated kiosks in Las Vegas-area casinos and malls.

During the next year, the men got into a business dispute. M.O. and M.K. alleged that Cohen was stealing and cheating them, and they terminated their business relationship with him. The defendants then began threatening M.O. and M.K. and attempted to extort money from them. In September and October 2009, Barmuha and Cohen threatened M.O. and M.K. in person and by telephone. In January 2010, Barmuha, Cohen and Zaken hired Ruslan and Murad Magomedgadzhiev to "strong-arm" M.K. On Jan. 8, 2010, the Magomedgadzhievs physically assaulted M.K. while he was walking to his vehicle, causing a serious head injury to him.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, Metro Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration and Los Angeles Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Frayn.

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