A Kazakh citizen has tricked 34 of his own compatriots out of $441,400 in the US
The journalist of Informburo.kz conducted an investigation about the scam artist, who tricked his own compatriots out of money, abusing his position of trust as a friend.
Two months ago, Bekbolat (the name was changed upon request of the hero), who studied in New York by Bolashak International Scholarship, called to the office of Informburo.kz and informed on the scam artist from Kazakhstan. From that day on, the journalist began gathering information about the victims of the citizen of Kazakhstan Arman Belassarov.
– The fraud is still at large. There are enough facts to punish him. Even more than enough. But the work of law enforcement agencies still hasn’t given any result. That’s why I decided to contact through media resources, — Bekbolat says.
The journalist of Informburo.kz got contacted to 34 victims and figured out that Arman Belassarov tricked them out of $ 441,400.
Who is Arman Belassarov?
Belassarov Arman Rashidovich was born in 1987. He is a resident of the South Kazakhstan region (now the Turkestan region), the village of Temirlan in the Ordabasy district. In recent 8 years has been living in the United States.
Mr. Belassarov studied at the Eurasian National University named after L.N. Gumilev, specialty “Management in tourism” from 2006 to 2010. After graduation, he went to the United States and stayed there.
The first victims were his close friends
Among the victims of Arman were his friends and roommates from student life. He shared plans for car shipping at low prices after getting to the United States. Arman even managed to convince to get loans, those who did not have money.
At that time, there was not any need in that much money for paperwork on the import of used vehicles, as it is today. For example, until July 1, 2011, an importer was obliged to pay 0.6 euro for each cubic centimeter of engine power to execute documents for an imported car. Nowadays this rate increased to 4 euro under the new tariff. Therefore, Arman’s friends accepted his offer with pleasure.
Arman Belassarov is on the international wanted list since 2013. The case is currently being reviewed due to an increase in the number of citizens applying against Arman to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
– In 2012, Arman used to call often and talked about the opportunity of vehicle shipping from the US. He promised to transport the latest model of any car brand for a price 2–3 times lower than in the local market. And I also called two more friends to take such a chance. One of them sent him 15,000, and the other 32,000 US dollars. I’ve sent $12,500, — Dostiyar, Arman’s friend from his student years, says.
According to Dostiyar, Arman didn’t return the money claiming that he had been deceived by the Kyrgyz in New York. But Dostiyar is still asking for his money back. Despite the fact that Arman created a company that provides transportation services, and improved his financial health, he still hasn’t given the money back.
Arman persuaded another friend, who rented an apartment in Astana with him after university, for $50,000. They agreed to ship a vehicle from the USA to Kazakhstan, do this business together. But Arman disappeared as soon as he received the amount of money mentioned above.
Two more Bolashak International Scholarship students who studied in the US also became Arman’s victims. Ayat and Shokhan rented an apartment with him during their preparatory course.
– Arman used to say that he was engaged in the vehicle shipping business. And offered us to join. I called Astana, my elder brother and decided to buy two cars. Porshe Cayenne ($25,150) for my brother, Lexus RX350 ($24,000) for me, — Ayat said.
Shokhan gave Arman $13,000. He ordered Toyota Camry in 2009 but never received his car. Both of them trusted Arman since he “prayed 5 times a day as a true Muslim and seemed pretty decent guy.”
“A car will be in front of your house in two weeks”
According to the official statement of the Astana City Police Department, Arman Belasarov was convicted in absentia by the Almaty District Court of Astana on October 11, 2011. And the court decision came into force on January 5, 2012, but the money could not be obtained from his parents. Therefore, on September 24, 2013, the Ministry of Internal Affairs included Arman Belassarov to the international wanted list.
– Arman studied with my relative. During his student years, he used to come to my home. He was good at building relationships and sociable. Therefore, I trusted him and gave him money. After four months of his stay in the US said that he successfully shipped 50 cars to Kazakhstan. I told about cooperation with major businessmen in Kazakhstan, and promised that the car would be in front of my house in two weeks, — a high-ranking official, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
He is the man who brought the Arman’s case to the court. Now the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan is resuming his case. In response to the official request of Informburo.kz, the first deputy prosecutor of Astana, Berik Abilov, said that the investigation is ongoing and the criminal case would be reported only after a final decision would be made.
Last year, Arman’s lawyer called the victim and offered to return the money. But since the proposed amount did not correspond to the exchange rate of 2012, the official did not get it.
A guy from Almaty opened a business with Arman and was left in the dust
Shalkar from Almaty had been planning to open his own business in the United States for a long time. In 2014, his friend Seit introduced him to Arman. In a short period of time, they managed to open a logistics company.
– I invested $100,000 in the track business. Since I went to the United States on a Visitor visa, we agreed to file company documents and bills under Arman’s name. At that time, we did not know each other for a long time, but I was sure that he could be trusted. But when I conducted an audit of our three-month work, I realized that the money was stolen, — Shalkar told to the journalist of Informburo.kz.
Their joint-stock company was called Astana Truck Lines Inc. Finding out that Arman grabs the money, Shalkar tried to withdraw his proportion. But it turned out that Arman set up the account that his business partner could not get access to it.
– Since the lion’s share of the investment belonged to me, I had to make a profit. Therefore, I took all the documents of the company and to the car away from Arman. But after those officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigations arrived and confiscated them. In the United States, the problem does not be solved by threats, as in Kazakhstan. I can only charge my money by filing a lawsuit. But it may take years, — Shalkar explained.
Shalkar had to return to Kazakhstan due to the visa expiration. After that, he applied for a visa three times but was never able to get an approval. One of the citizens of Kazakhstan who worked for Arman claims that he had another company in Chicago called US Express Trucking LLC.
He had even deceived his own wife
During conversations with the victims, it turned out that the fraud had even deceived his own wife for a large amount. The correspondent of Informburo.kz found Moldir’s (the name was changed upon request of the hero) number and tried to investigate the case from the inside. But she declined to comment. We managed to get in touch with an American Kazakh who is well aware of Arman’s relationship with his ex-wife. He told everything he knew and asked not to announce his name.
– He married in the US. Moldir came to study by the MBA program. After marriage, she decided to stay here. Then they got their first child. Everything seemed perfect at the beginning. But after a while, Moldir found out that her husband was deceiving people, and she did not like that. Moldir had $93 000 as payment for her studies. Arman persuaded them to invest them in the business. Later they divorced because of disagreements between them. Moldir sued Arman for four years to get her money back. She recently won in court, — he told.
According to one of the victims, Arman did not pay child support until the court decision was made.
“If a Kazakh does not help a Kazakh, then who will?”
A truck driver named Nurlan shared his story with the journalist of Informburo.kz. From the moment of his arrival in the US, he began to earn by the transportation of goods to New York neighboring states. One day Arman called him and offered a job at Astana Truck Lines.
– Arman said “If a Kazakh does not help a Kazakh, then who will help?” and promised to pay a high salary. I didn’t agree for the first time, fearing that the work might not be permanent. But he managed to persuade. After that, I started working for his company. In the first 1–2 months I’ve received the salary on time. Later weekly earnings started to delay. We also ran out of the money on the business card for fuel. Arman asked to pay from my own account for a while. And I agreed. Then I did not return the car, asked my money back, — says Nurlan.
Arman said that the car is urgently needed, and promised to return the money within a week. He even gave a receipt, but then disappeared. According to Nurlan, Arman owed him $ 3,000.
Alikhan, who is also a truck driver, says that he cannot get back his $9,000. Figuring out such an injustice, Arman’s ex-wife Moldir gave Alikhan her husband’s car and documents on it. Alikhan sold it and could return a part of his money.
Alikhan says that there were three Uzbeks and one Georgian, each of whom never received a salary of $ 3,000 from Arman.
“Arman has an illegitimate child“
One of the victims said that Arman gets acquainted with students, who come to the US by Work and Travel program, through social networks.
– Arman presents himself as a Kazakh millionaire living in New York City. He told one of my friends that he had 500 cars. In fact, the amount is less than 10. And he is deeply in debt. Thus, he meets inexperienced, naive girls from the airport in Suburban (Chevrolet Suburban Long SUV. — Ed.) with a bouquet of flowers. He rides around showing New York City for mercenary purposes, — the victim says.
According to her, Arman has an illegitimate child. The correspondent of Informburo.kz appealed to Kazakh citizens who live in New York City and to the Consulate General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in New York to confirm the accuracy of the information. After that, the journalist was given the opportunity to contact a woman who could not get Arman to acknowledge the child. But the woman declined to comment.
According to the American Kazakh who provided this information, Arman hired an experienced lawyer and threatened to “deport the girl to Kazakhstan if she files a lawsuit.” According to the information received by the journalist, she is raising the child by herself.
He wants to use the reputation of famous people
Arman Belassarov is very active in social networks. He shares his achievements and promotes the transport business on Facebook and Instagram (on the pages of more than 100,000 subscribers). He also tries to build warm relationships with the stars of Kazakh show business and officials who come to New York for a business or as a visitor.
For example, Arman met Kairat Nurtas’s mother Gulzira Aidarbekova, the popular Kazakh singer Gazhymzhan Moldanazar, well-known movie director Nurtas Adambay, director of the children’s and youth theater named after Musrepov Sabit Abdykalykov, actor Arthur Tolepov, famous Kazakh Viner Nurlan Batyrov, and high-ranking officials (who asked not to announce their names) at the airport providing them with a high level of service. According to Nurlan, Arman wants to use the reputation of famous people.
Guys from Shymkent went to Chicago chasing Arman
Some of Arman’s compatriots wanted to charge their money from him in another way. An activist of the Kazakh community in Chicago, Vasily, told the journalist of Informburo.kz that some men from Shymkent were looking for Arman. Vasily was surprised that Arman had not been punished yet, and he gave contact numbers of the people who came there for the scam artist. Unfortunately, the Shymkent guys refused to help the journalist of Informburo.kz in the investigation.
According to Vasily, the local Kazakhs did not give the address of Arman to those guys who were chasing him. At that time, he got his first child.
During the investigation, the journalist found out that Arman had deceived an American of Turkic origin. A victim named Sergat Ozkan met Arman in the Fatih Camii mosque in Brooklyn.
– After the prayer, a guy got closer to me and asked for help, saying that he was unemployed. I allowed him to stay in the mosque if he had nowhere to go. My dad was the imam of this mosque, — Sergat says to the journalist of Informburo.kz.
To Sergat’s question of what he can do, Arman replied that he was engaged in selling vehicles in Kazakhstan. At that time, Sergat was planning to sell his father’s Toyota Corolla Universal. And he asked Arman to help with the sale of the car in order to find the poor guy a work.
– I really trusted him, since he asked for help in the mosque. Did not draw up the act of reception and transmission of the car. I trusted him as a Muslim to a Muslim, — Sergat says.
Arman disappeared after that. Didn’t return the car, didn’t give money for it. The cost of the car at that time (on average) was $20,000.
Today Arman’s business is filled under the name of his younger sister
Now Arman lives in Fort Lee, NJ, and has been working in the field of convenient transportation in recent years. His company is called KZ Limo NYC Inc. But it is filed under the name of his younger sister Alida Omarbayeva (whose maiden name was Belassarova, before she got married to Arnur Omarbayev, a Kazakh who moved to the US from Semey).
A guy named Zhanat, who studied at the same university as Arman a course ahead, traveled to the US in 2016. He rented a car from Arman and worked as a taxi driver through the online carrier service Via (an Uber analog). Zhanat went to Kazakhstan, not having a chance to get his thousand dollars back from Mr. Belassarov.
– I worked through Arman’s Via account. Therefore, all the money came to his account. We agreed that he would send money to me every week. But he was not in a hurry with the payments. After my return to Kazakhstan, he called me back, saying that the UN is meeting a delegation from Saudi Arabia and there is an opportunity to earn $500 a day. I returned to the US and started working for him again,”- Zhanat says.
Two months before the departure, Zhanat demanded to make a calculation of payments. But Arman sent him to his sister, and sister sent back to her brother. In addition, Arman asked Zhanat to lend $2,000 to go to the wedding of Dimash Niyazov, a Shymkent guy living in New York, which was held in Hawaii. Arman returned him $ 2,000 through an online transfer only two weeks later but soon took them back by the chargeback service of the bank. In the end, Zhanat received nothing.
Most of the victims who contacted the editor’s office were deceived in the same way as Zhanat. They trusted Arman’s words and worked for his company. Later could not get the money. Arman was withdrawing money from their salaries, stating that some of the cars were damaged or that a car was fined. And about the remainder, he used to say: “I will give them tomorrow.”
What is his status at the moment?
It turned out that Arman Belasarov initially planned to stay in the United States from the very beginning. Arriving in New York, he immediately asked for political asylum. Arman had to confirm that he was an oppositionist in Kazakhstan in order to get political asylum. The editorial office of Informburo.kz received Arman’s documents submitted to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
The document states that Arman was the head of the youth community called “ Ел болашағы” (Yel Bolashagi/Future of the State) in Astana. During student years he actively participated in opposition rallies and was beaten by law enforcement officers several times. He also writes that he has been under pressure from the staff of the National Security Committee in recent years, and he was forced to leave the country. We contacted Arman’s groupmates to gather accurate information about his student activities.
– Arman used to miss classes. He was not an activist at the university. He was mean and loved to complain. His Russian was not good, — his groupmate told.
The document also states that on November 10, 2006, in Astana, the active youth of “ Ел болашағы” organized a meeting in which 45 people participated, and they all unanimously elected Arman as a chairman.
The journalist of Informburo.kz contacted the citizens, whose surnames were indicated in the protocol. They denied information about this meeting.
Before moving to the United States, Arman took a medical certificate from the Astana City Polyclinic #3, indicating that there were numerous bruises on his body. The correspondent of Formburo.kz tried to verify this fact, but the hospital management denied this information. Arman’s groupmates also said that he had never been arrested or beaten by the police. Arman Belassarov was engaged in trade and was looking for additional income during student life.
After getting to the United States, Arman’s relatives helped in the preparation of documents confirming his detention by the Police Department of the South Kazakhstan Region.
His ex-wife has deferred the case reporting that the documents Arman Belassarov provided for political asylum are forged. The person who told about this to Informburo.kz heard the story from himself.
Since we had collected enough information, the journalist tried to contact Arman. But he did not answer the correspondent of Informburo.kz.
The editorial office of Іnformburo.kz expresses readiness to assist the investigation of Arman Belassarov’s case. The correspondent may share the received information with investigators from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan on criminal cases against Arman Belassarov with the permission of each victim and informant.
This article was published in informburo.kz on December 13th, 2018. Here is the link to an original version of an article and it’s in the Kazakh language.