NYC Man In $30M International Bank Heist Ring Sentenced

January 26, 2024 0 By JohnValbyNation

NEW YORK CITY — An international heist ring with ties to New York City looted $30 million from banks in Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan, federal prosecutors said.

One ring member — Garri Smith, 52, of Brooklyn — was sentenced this week to four years in prison for his role in the scheme, authorities said.

Smith and his compatriots used high-tech equipment to steal money, jewelry and gold bars from safety deposit boxes from Russia, Ukraine and beyond, prosecutors said.

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“Garri Smith stole a fortune from banks around the world in a scheme more suited
for a Hollywood production,” said Erin Keegan, acting special agent-in-charge for a Department of Homeland Security office in New York, in a statement.

“He sought wealth and the finer things, but instead landed himself on the wrong side of the law.”

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Court documents detail a sophisticated scheme in which Smith and his co-conspirators rented safety deposit boxes at banks and, using specialized medical equipment, took photographs of neighboring boxes’ locks.

They then used the photographs to duplicate keys from those locks, documents state.

“Finally, they used the keys to steal money from the safe deposit boxes of legitimate customers at the banks,” the documents state. “They stole millions of dollars which they laundered into the United States.”

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Smith, who pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy, personally took part in thefts totaling $5.1 million, authorities said.

Banks were robbed in Azerbaijan, Latvia, Moldova, North Macedonia, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, prosecutors said.

The entire ring heisted $30 million from seven countries before laundering the money.

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