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15 Saturday

Plot thickens in Russian immigrant murder mystery

The plot is thickening in the case of a Russian émigré who collected $1 million in life insurance after the mysterious death of his Brooklyn mistress.

It turns out Eugene Perchikov is accused of killing a second lady friend for her policy payout - using a "perfect murder" method he detailed in a short story.

Perchikov, who lives in Israel with his wife, is being investigated by the Manhattan district attorney's office for fraud, the Daily News has learned.

Though he hasn't been charged with any crimes, Perchikov is accused of murdering Russian immigrants Larysa Vasserman and Tatiana Korkhova in two lawsuits.

Vasserman, 48, a lonely divorcee who met Perchikov through a personal ad, died in her Brooklyn apartment in 2002.

Korkhova, 54, a widowed bookkeeper who knew Perchikov from Russia, was found dead in her Manhattan home in 2004.

In both cases, the medical examiner could not determine the cause of death.

And both women had been persuaded by Perchikov to take out fat life insurance policies - using fraudulent information - naming him as beneficiary, court papers charge.

A suit filed by Korkhova's estate claims she was given "an overdose of norepinephrine, a method of murder which Perchikov described in detail in the short story."

The lawyer representing both women's estates hired prominent pathologist Cyril Wecht to review their deaths.

He found a scenario Perchikov described in his self-published volume of short stories - in which a murder victim is killed with an undetectable injection of norepinephrine - was plausible.

After Vasserman's death, Perchikov collected more than $1 million from an insurance company but had his claims denied by two others, court papers said.

He was named beneficiary on a $1 million policy on Korkhova's life, and an Israeli friend, Larisa Yurkov-Shkolnik, was listed as a beneficiary on a second.

Both insurance companies have refused to pay.

In an amazing display of chutzpah, Yurkov-Shkolnik hired a lawyer in an attempt to collect on hers, claiming she's Korkhova's long-lost stepsister.

The administrator for Korkhova's estate, meanwhile, is arguing that the money should be paid out - to the victim's sister, who lives in Russia.

A suit filed by Vasserman's family against Perchikov and the insurance companies was dismissed by the courts this week. Lawyers for the various parties declined comment.

The district attorney's probe is officially a fraud investigation; homicide charges may never be filed.

Korkhova is buried in Russia, and Vasserman's remains are likely skeletal. Tissue samples from both women were preserved, but sources said any norepinephrine probably wouldn't show up in tests.

20 Wednesday

Judge issues $6.8M judgment vs. Russian immigrant suspected of murdering mistress for insurance

A federal judge issued a $6.8 million judgment against a Russian immigrant suspected of murdering his Brooklyn mistress for her insurance.

Eugene Perchikov is believed to be living in Israel with his wife after pocketing $1 million as a beneficiary of Larysa Vasserman, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances in 2002. Perchikov met the lonely divorcée through a personal ad.

Although the medical examiner could not determine a cause of death, Perchikov had self-published a short story about a killer who injects his victim with an undetectable fatal drug, the Daily News reported.

Perchikov never responded to a lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court seeking wrongful death damages and the insurance money he pocketed, so a default judgement was issued.

"It doesn't put him in jail, but there's more that should come, I hope," said lawyer Jacques Debrot, who represents the victim's estate.

Perchikov is accused in a separate suit of killing Tatiana Korkhova, a Manhattan woman who died in a similar fashion and named him as a beneficiary.

09 Wednesday

13 mob-linked suspects indicted in pump-and-dump stock scam

The secretary next-door to Powercom Energy Services long wondered about its employees: They dressed like gangsters, worked odd hours and said very little.

The FBI confirmed her suspicions on Wednesday, raiding the Garment District office after 13 mob-linked suspects were indicted for allegedly swindling elderly investors out of $12 million.

The sixth-floor boiler room on W. 36th St. was staffed with crooked salesmen making cold calls to peddle stock in two sham companies: Miami-based Realcast Live and BBC Gaming Inc. on Fifth Ave., the indictment charged.

"They didn't look like business types," said Maria Cruz, a secretary at Columbia Mutual Life Insurance.

Or sound like it.

Defendant Lance Barbarino assured a fellow crook last December that his "mother will come out of the grave" before Realcast turned a profit, the indictment said.

The suspects - including Bonanno soldier Anthony Guarino, the scam mastermind - had connections to Italian and Russian organized crime, sources said.

"That is laughable," said Guarino's lawyer, Mathew Mari. "No one in the government has said that to me, nor do I expect it to be alleged."

The Manhattan federal indictment charged the crooked salesmen collected 40% to 50% commission on their stock sales - although customers were told it was 10% or less.

Eight of the defendants were released after their arraignments in Manhattan, and others were busted in Pennsylvania and Florida. Jamir Fuller, 39, of Atlanta, was the only suspect still at large.

16 Friday

82-year-old, 14 others arrested in $80 million medicare scheme: cops

A Brooklyn clinic was exposed Friday as a Medicare mill where "professional patients" lined up in a "kickback room" for payoffs under a poster warning them not to snitch.

As part of the largest ever nationwide crackdown on Medicare fraud, Brooklyn prosecutors charged 15 people, including an 82-year-old woman who put her name to 3,744 Medicare claims since 2004.

Valentina Mushinskaya's nephew said his diabetes-stricken aunt was clueless about the scam at Bay Medical - allegedly run by a doctor with a penthouse, a Mercedes-Benz and a yacht.

"She feels ashamed, absolutely shocked," said Vladimir Olshansky after she was released on $30,000 bail.

Prosecutors say five clinics in the city bilked the government out of $78 million through claims for unnecessary or phantom services.

The feds infiltrated the so-called "kickback room" at the Bay Parkway clinic where patients collected $50 to $100 payments for each bogus visit, prosecutors said.

Behind a door marked "Private," the wall was decorated with a Cold War-era poster with a Russian version of the "no snitching'" campaign.

It showed a grim-looking woman with her finger to her lips, with the warning: "Don't Gossip...Be on the lookout...In these days the walls talk...It's not far between gossiping and betrayal."

"They should have heeded the warning because the walls had ears and they had eyes," said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, referring to surveillance recordings by informants.

"In these days, the walls do talk."

The feds found another kickback room at Solstice clinic on Beach 102nd St., where patients openly blabbed about the kickbacks, according to court papers.

Among those busted was Evgeny Gil, 78, whose lawyer told the judge he needed followup care for a prostate procedure.

The judge said that would not be a problem as long as he did not seek treatment at Solstice, which had billed Medicare for 2,558 services for Gil.

Lynch said thousands upon thousands of dummied-up claims had been submitted on behalf of "professional patients."

Investigators tracked them on a real-time basis much the way the NYPD tracks crime with the Compstat system.

In the largest Medicare fraud takedown in history, the Brooklyn busts were replicated across the country, including Miami, Detroit, Houston and Baton Rouge, La.

All told, 94 people were arrested and accused of fleecing $251 million out of the system.

At Bay Medical, federal agents carted off computers and 20 boxes of evidence while building manager Carlos Bowen described the brisk business.

"They [patients] came by the ambulette load," Bowen said. "Hundreds of them. All of them Russian. They turned away Hispanics, blacks, everybody else."

Dr. Jonathan Wahl had a penthouse apartment in the seven-story building. He also drove a Mercedes and had a yacht docked at a Brooklyn marina, Bowen said.

Wahl, one of two doctors arrested, was released on $500,000 bail. A lawyer for the practice denied the charges.

The feds are still hunting for seven other suspects.

27 Saturday

Brooklyn couple and son busted for massive weapons and drugs stockpile, including 30 guns

The family that stockpiles weapons together, stays together.

A Brooklyn couple and their son were among four people busted for having 30 guns, nine knives and scores of drugs in their apartment across the street from a grade school, police said Saturday.

Investigators believe the arsenal - which includes several antique guns and odd items like an umbrella with a blade hidden in its handle - was an illegal collection and not something more sinister, police sources said.

"We have no reason to believe they had any intent to sell these weapons," a police source said. "They just shouldn't have had them in the first place."

Husband and wife Thomas Siano, 57, and Kathleen Siano, 58, along with their son Vincent Siano, 29, and family friend Michael Poole, 29, were charged with criminal possession of weapons after cops raided their Sheepshead Bay home.

Cops executed a search warrant at the family's West St. home Friday and recovered 10 handguns, nine shotguns, nine rifles, two assault rifles and a large quantity of ammunition, police said.

It was not clear how many of the guns were in working condition, police said. The Siano family did not have permits for any of the firearms, police said.

Cops also found a variety of unusual blades, including three daggers, a sword, a machete and the modified umbrella in the run-down home, which is across the street from Public School 216.

Dozens of pills were also found in the home, but investigators do not believe the family was selling them.

Neighbors said the Siano family often acted strangely - occasionally required cops to be called to quell a fight - but did not seem to pose a threat to the tight-knit neighborhood.

"They were really nice people," said Rosemarie Parascando, 36, who lived across the street. "Harmless. Strange but harmless."

"Tommy was an avid hunter," said neighbor Charles Tovle, 56, speculating that Siano used the weapons on upstate hunting trips. "They're very quiet except occasionally there were fights late at night, screaming, and the cops would come by and break it up."

It was not believed that Kathleen Siano or Michael Poole were involved with collecting the weapons but were charged because they lived there, police sources said.

The four suspects were expected to be arraigned later Saturday, officials said.

Poole has a lengthy prior arrest record, including busts for assault, drug possession and DWI, according to records.

Thomas Siano was busted in 1990 for drug possession, officials said. It was not immediately clear if his wife or son had a previous arrest record.