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by Mike Caswell
New York prosecutors have asked for a sentence of fewer than four years for Alexander Garkusha, one of those charged for participating in a newswire hacking scheme that included Toronto's Marketwired LP. Prosecutors say that the judge should give Mr. Garkusha credit for the substantial assistance he provided to the government. His co-operation included testifying against his co-accused and spending hours explaining the scheme.
The request from prosecutors comes 3-1/2 years after Mr. Garkusha, 51, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was part of a group that traded on information hackers had obtained from newswire services. The group accessed 100,000 or more news releases ahead of publication, the government claimed. The men used those releases to make $30-million in illegal profits, with Mr. Garkusha receiving a small fraction of that money. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.)
Prosecutors have set out their position on Mr. Garkusha's sentence in a letter to the judge filed on Friday, June 7. The letter explains that Mr. Garkusha should serve time in jail, but should also receive some credit for helping the government. According to prosecutors, Mr. Garkusha was an important witness as he was aware of the fraud from the start, learning about it during a meeting at the Atlanta airport in late 2010. Those attending the meeting included Vitaly Korchevsky, a fund manager and pastor from Pennsylvania who was the mastermind of the fraud.
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