Tue, 18 Jun 2019

Richard Pinedo, a man accused by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office of operating an online auction service for stolen identities, was sentenced to one year in prison on October 10.

Pinedo pleaded guilty to one count of identity fraud in February, when the criminal charge against him was announced by Mueller's office.

At the same time, Mueller's office announced an indictment against 13 Russians and three Russian firms on charges they used fake Internet personas to push divisive messages, traveled to the United States to collect intelligence, and staged political rallies.

The indictment against the Russians made no mention of Pinedo by name.

However, according to a source familiar with the case, he is referred in the charging documents as the person who helped the Russian conspirators launder money, purchase Facebook ads, and pay for rally supplies.

U.S. Judge Dabney Friedrich said Pinedo could serve half the sentence at home.

The probe led by Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has issued several indictments and accepted guilty pleas as it investigates Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Pinedo's attorney, Jeremy Lessem, has said his client had no knowledge of the identities or the motivations of those who purchased the information he sold.

According to the indictment against the 13 Russians, the defendants in 2016 used Social Security numbers and birth dates of real U.S. people to open PayPal accounts and to create fake drivers licenses and open social-media accounts.

With reporting by Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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