A South Florida man who was on probation for posing as an attorney is back behind bars after authorities say he represented himself as a certified representative of the Russian Embassy to con a man out of $1,000.
David Vyner, 36, is facing grand theft charges after his arrest last month following an investigation by the Broward Sheriff's Office's Economic Crimes Unit.
According to an arrest affidavit, Vyner, who also goes by David Vayner and Bagrat Mochkarovsky, promised a man he could renew his Russian passport for $1,050.
Vyner had established a business called Consular Services Agency in Hallandale Beach and began advertising his services in a Russian language magazine and newspaper in January, according to the affidavit.
In April, the victim, who was recently discharged from the U.S. Navy and was a citizen of both the U.S. and Russia, saw the ad and contacted Vyner to renew his Russian passport, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, Vyner falsely represented to the man that he was certified representative and had contacts with the Consular Division of the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC.
The victim paid Vyner $1,050 in cash and handed over his two Russian passports.
But when the victim went home, he went on the Internet and discovered Vyner's criminal history, the affidavit said. He began calling Vyner to get his money refunded and his passports returned, but wasn't able to make contact, the affidavit said.
An official with the Russian Embassy told the BSO that Vyner had no authorization to represent the embassy or render services on their behalf, the affidavit said. The official added that the fee for obtaining a new passport was a mere $30.
Vyner was arrested on April 30 and was being held without bond on an immigration hold, jail records showed. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.
The Russian immigrant is no stranger to law enforcement and had been on probation after pleading no contest in July to four counts of unauthorized practice of law, three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and three counts of uttering a forged instrument, according to the affidavit.
In that case, Vyner claimed he was a lawyer who could fix immigration issues for members of South Florida's Russian community, according to the BSO.
"This guy has been scamming since the day he got into the United States," BSO detective John Calabro, who has been working on the Vyner case for years, said at the time of his arrest last year.
One of the Russian immigrants scammed said he paid Vyner over $200,000 for legal help.
In addition to posing as an attorney and Russian Embassy representative, Vyner allegedly posed as a doctor and rabbi and managed to get an ID badge from Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
"To maintain the safety and security of our campus, we will not discuss Mr. Vyner’s former relationship with the hospital," Memorial Regional spokeswoman Kerting Baldwin said in a statement. "What is important to note is that no staff or patients were affected. Our security department took the necessary actions to handle this case and worked with law enforcement to bring Mr. Vyner to justice.
"Since the incident, the hospital has instituted additional security measures for all staff and volunteers who serve here, and these measures have further strengthened the screening process."
Vyner also has an active arrest warrant in Newfoundland, Canada on criminal tax charges for defrauding Canada's IRS of more than $324,000, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
He also posed as an attorney in Canada and represented Russian refugees in immigration proceedings, according to the Sun-Sentinel.