Monroeville man gets 15 months in money-skimming scheme
A Monroeville engineer was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme to steal international aid money with a former Russian energy minister.
U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill ordered Mark Kaushansky, 56, to pay a $20,000 fine and back taxes for helping alleged co-conspirator Yevgeny Adamov skim the money for several years.
Kaushansky pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy and tax evasion charges. He originally was indicted on 20 counts.
Prosecutors said Kaushansky teamed up with Adamov to divert $15 million earmarked to upgrade security at Russian nuclear plants through banks in Delaware and Monaco, and PNC and Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh.
At least $9 million went through U.S. companies the defendants created, and Kaushansky was responsible for $5.5 million in back taxes, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Cohill ruled Kaushansky, a Ukrainian native who worked as a Westinghouse nuclear engineer, owed only $63,000 in taxes. That reduced his potential sentence.
Former U.S. Attorney Fred Thieman, who represented Kaushansky, said his client and Adamov diverted the money to keep it safe from the volatile Russian economic market and used it to pay Russian nuclear scientists.
"I was given an opportunity to help hundreds of Russian scientists and their families in dire need," Kaushansky said yesterday. "I think I did a lot of good, but in the process I made some mistakes."
Adamov, 68, served as Russia's nuclear power minister from 1998 until 2001. The United States had him arrested in Switzerland in 2005 and attempted to extradite him to Pittsburgh. Swiss courts, however, sent the nuclear physicist to Moscow to face criminal charges there. His trial began in January, but was later postponed.
"Dr. Adamov will probably never be in the United States to have the charges against him resolved," Cohill said.
Prosecutors believe that will likely be the case, but they have not dropped charges against Adamov.