Man found guilty for ordering attacks on in-laws

TAMPA — A federal jury on Friday convicted a Sarasota man accused of ordering three attacks against in-laws who refused to keep paying for his failing business ventures.

Alex Shevgert, 52, was found guilty of conspiracy to travel with the intent to kill, injure or harass another person and two counts of aiding and abetting another person to travel and carry out the attacks.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 20.

Shevgert's parents-in-law, Grigori and Galina Komissarchuk, had fractured skulls after separate attacks in Florida and New York, between September 2006 and April 2007. Prosecutors said Shevgert asked a friend to recruit a hit man whom he would pay to beat the Komissarchuks.

They were each attacked twice — in three incidents. Two attacks took place in the couple's Brighton Beach neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., where they own interests in the taxicab business. One attack took place at their Sarasota home after they left a party at the home of Shevgert and their daughter.

Three co-conspirators pleaded guilty. Prosecutors described Edmon Vardanyan of Tampa as man who carried out all three attacks. Larik Cholak, the middleman who recruited Vardanyan, and Sergey Zub, a getaway driver, both testified against Shevgert at the two-week trial.

Prosecutors said Shevgert moved his family into the Komissarchuks' Sarasota home without their knowledge. They found out when escalating utility bills arrived in Brooklyn.

Grigori Komissarchuk said he wanted Shevgert out of the house, but Shevgert wouldn't budge. After nearly six years of living rent free at the Komissarchuks' Sarasota home, Shevgert and his family left.

Prosecutors said the Komissarchuks gave him and their daughter $100,000 to buy their own house. The Komissarchuks had given Shevgert tens of thousands of dollars throughout the 1990s to start his own businesses. But each time, they failed, prosecutors said.

Shevgert kept coming back for more. His final request, Grigori Komissarchuk testified, was $1-million to open a liquor store. The Komissarchuks refused.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Man found guilty for ordering attacks on in-laws 11/14/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 16, 2008 6:22pm]

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