Three Indicted For Alleged Scheme To Ship Stolen Cars To Ukraine

TRENTON — Three members of an Atlantic County family were indicted today for their alleged roles in a scheme to stolen vehicles from New Jersey to the Republic of Ukraine via Elizabeth, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced.

According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli, Yakov Kovalev, 48, Kovalev’s wife, Marina Kovalev, 42, and their son, Radion “Radik” Kovalev, 19, each of Buena, were each charged with second-degree receiving stolen property and second-degree fencing. Yakov Kovalev was additionally charged with second-degree leader of an auto theft network.


The Union County grand jury indictment alleges that between Oct. 25, 2008 and March 16, 2009, Yakov Kovalev conspired with others as an organizer and manager in a scheme to transport stolen automobiles from New Jersey to the city of Odessa in the Republic of Ukraine.

The indictment alleges that Yakov, Marina and Radik Kovalev received the following vehicles knowing that they had been stolen: a 2009 Hummer H2 belonging to Turnersville Auto Group, valued at approximately $65,000; a 2009 Volkswagen Passat valued at approximately $29,500, a 2009 Volkswagen Golf valued at approximately $29,500, a 2009 Volkswagen Passat valued at approximately $21,600, all three belonging to Atlantic Chrysler of Egg Harbor Township; a 2009 Ford Focus, valued at approximately $18,500, a 2009 Ford Focus valued at approximately $20,400, and a 2009 Ford Focus valued at approximately $16,800, all belonging to Kindle Ford of Cape May Court House.

Finally, the indictment alleges that the Kovalevs knowingly trafficked in the stolen vehicles. The investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor revealed that the Kovalevs allegedly arranged to have the stolen vehicles shipped from Elizabeth to the City of Odessa, in the Republic of Ukraine, to be sold so that they could split the proceeds.

The investigation began when Interpol discovered that the 2009 Hummer H2 was a stolen vehicle.

The case will be venued in Union County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear in court to answer the charges at a later date.

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