Deputies arrest sixth man in transcontinental crime ring investigation; four remain at large

LARGO — A 41-year-old man suspected in a transcontinental crime ring that defrauded several financial institutions out of at least $3.1 million turned himself in to deputies Monday morning.

Nikolay Angelov Poibrenski became the sixth person arrested in a three-year investigation into an operation that used fake documents to obtain credit cards and luxury vehicles that were resold overseas for up to twice their value, deputies said.

Poibrenski was charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. He was being held in the Pinellas County Jail on $500,000 bail.

The investigation involved the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office's economic crimes unit, the U.S. Secret Service and the Florida attorney general's statewide prosecution office. Four other people suspected of playing a major role in the operation, which also operated out of Illinois, remain at large.

Authorities are seeking Atanas Todorov Zagorov, believed to be local, as well as Ivan Staykov, Kiril G. Dinev and Ivaylo V. Georgiev (a.k.a. Rumen Naydenov), all of Chicago.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has said it is possible that hundreds of others may have participated in the scheme at some point over the past several years.

Five other men, including alleged ringleader Tihomir Botchev, 32, were arrested on March 15. The others arrested were Ivan Petrov, 31, Georgi Angelov, 28, and Martin Jordanov, 27, all of St. Petersburg, and Lubomir Sandov, 47, of Clearwater.

Before the crime ring was dismantled, more than a dozen financial institutions fell victim to the group's ploy, including Chase, Fifth Third Bank, Bank of America, BB&T and Grow Financial, officials said.

All of the people accused of being involved in the scheme are from Bulgaria or other eastern European countries, officials said. Several, including Botchev, entered the country legally and became U.S. citizens.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386.

Deputies arrest sixth man in transcontinental crime ring investigation; four remain at large 04/02/12 [Last modified: Monday, April 2, 2012 11:10pm]

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