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Date: 05-18-2024

Case Style:

United States of America v. Volodimyr Pigida

Case Number: 2:18-cr-00294

Judge: Ricardo S. Martinez

Court: The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

Plaintiff's Attorney: The United States Attorney’s Office for Seattle

Defendant's Attorney: Gilbert H. Levy


Seattle, Washington criminal defense lawyer Gilbert H. Levy represented the Defendant charged with $11 million fraud and absconding before sentencing

Convicted Ponzi schemer sentenced to over 14 years in prison for $11 million fraud and absconding before sentencing

A federally convicted Ponzi schemer who fled before sentencing, will do 156 months in prison for his fraud convictions, with an additional 16 months in prison for absconding before his original sentencing hearing. Volodimyr Pigida, 49, a Miami area resident who previously resided in Bellevue, Washington, was ultimately arrested October 24, 2023, after a three-hour standoff with agents in South Florida. At his sentencing hearing today, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez told Pigida that he had abused the court’s “trust” by fleeing from justice. The judge also described Pigida’s fraud as an “extensive, elaborate, complex scheme” that caused “immense harm” for his victims.

“Accountability has been a long-time coming for Mr. Pigida,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman. “His refusal to accept responsibility for defrauding thousands of victims continues to this day and is reflected in the significant sentence imposed in this case.”

In December 2022, Pigida was found guilty by a jury in the Western District of Washington of 26 felony counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, and bankruptcy fraud, among other crimes.

In his $11 million Ponzi scheme Pigida defrauded thousands of victims. Pigida and his wife, Marina Bondarenko, operated a ‘work-at-home’ email scheme named Trend Sound Promoter. The couple sold ad-promoting packages whereby those who bought a package were to be paid for email marketing. The couple made claims to those purchasing the packages that they could make big money for sending emails on Trend Sound’s behalf. In reality, the only significant money being generated was from those purchasing the packages, and it was used to pay earlier purchasers as in a typical Ponzi scheme. The scheme ultimately crashed – but not before the two raided the company’s accounts to purchase homes, expensive cars, and a yacht.

On August 4, 2023, Pigida failed to appear at his sentencing hearing before the district court in Seattle. A warrant was issued for his arrest. Pigida is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Ukraine. Initially, there were indications that Pigida might have fled to war torn Ukraine. Ultimately, law enforcement discovered him hiding in a secret room of a relative’s home in Parkland, Florida. He was pulled from hiding after a standoff with police.

Assistant United States Attorney Philip Kopczynski described Pigida’s conduct in his sentencing brief, writing: “Defendant Volodimyr Pigida has shown nothing but contempt for this Court, the government, and the jury that heard the case against him. Last July, with his sentencing hearing looming on 26 felony convictions, Pigida fled. He sent a letter insisting he’s done nothing wrong, and insulting Your Honor, the prosecutors, and everyone else involved in his case. Through the diligent efforts of federal law enforcement, he was eventually found. He was arrested hiding behind a false wall in a relative’s house in Florida. Agents had to literally drag him out.”

Pigida and his wife were indicted for conspiracy and mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud in November 2018. In September 2019, Bondarenko pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud and was sentenced to 38 months in prison.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Philip Kopczynski.


Defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 156 months in prison

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