A man who defrauded more than a 100 people through illegitimate electronic businesses and ran a “boiler room” operation out of a rental house in Coupeville was recently sentenced to prison and ordered to pay back his victims.
Roman Y. Ogourtsov, 37, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court last year to theft in the first degree with aggravating circumstances and four counts of money laundering. The aggravating circumstances, which allow for a sentence above the standard range, is that the crime was a major economic offense.
Last week, a judge sentenced him to 22 months in prison and ordered him to pay $759,000 in restitution to the victims that investigators were able to locate.
From 2012-2014, Ogourtsov used several business names on several professional-looking websites to sell high-end television sets to people across the country but then never actually sent the televisions. He would only accept direct deposits or wire transfers.
Ogourtsov accepted calls from the various customers and continually made excuses and promised that the electronics were on their way.
Court documents indicate that Ogourtsov was able to obtain about $1 million in a 15-month period.
Between 2012 and 2013, the state Attorney General’s Office received about 100 complaints from people who purchased TVs from Ogourtsov, according to court documents. The AG opened an investigation, as did the Mukilteo Police Department and the Bellevue Police Department.
The AG pressured Ogourtsov to return the money but only a small portion was. None of the agencies pursued charges.
Then in 2014, Lt. Mike Hawley with the Island County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint and knocked on the door of the Coupeville home listed as the corporate home of one of Ogourtsov’s businesses. He spoke with Ogourtsov, who claimed that he sold more than 30 TV sets a day over the internet.
Hawley returned with a search warrant and found evidence of the scheme Ogourtsov used to defraud people.