U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office announced its latest indictment on Wednesday. A California man was accused of operating an online auction service for stolen identities and was sentenced to one year in prison on Wednesday in a federal district court.
Richard Pinedo pleaded guilty to one count of identity fraud in February and he could serve half the sentence at home, U.S. Judge Dabney Friedrich said.
The criminal charge against Pinedo was announced by Mueller’s office at the same time it announced an indictment against 13 Russians and three Russian companies. The indictments were on charges they adopted fake online personas to push divisive messages, traveled to the United States to collect intelligence and staged political rallies.
The indictment against the Russians does not mention Pinedo by name. However, a source familiar with the case said he is referred in the charging documents as the person who helped the Russian conspirators launder money. He also purchased Facebook ads and paid for rally supplies, through PayPal Holdings Inc.
Mueller’s investigation has issued several indictments and accepted guilty pleas as it investigates Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Pinedo’s attorney, Jeremy Lessem, has said his client had no knowledge of the identities or the motivations of those who purchased the information he sold.
The defendants in the indictment against the 13 Russians indicated that they used Social Security numbers and birth dates of real U.S. people to open PayPal accounts and to create fake drivers licenses and open social media accounts.
The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia. However, one of the Russian companies charged in the indictment, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, has hired American attorneys to fight the charges.
How do you think these recent indictments will affect the future of Mueller’s investigation? How much longer do you think this probe will last?
Credit: Daily Mail