Prosecutors have filed papers to restrain approximately 40 bank accounts operated by Michael Levitis or those connected to him, and have moved to seize two Manhattan Beach properties in order to preserve funds for victims of his alleged fraud, according to statements by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
According to the indictment, investigators have identified several bank accounts in the name of Levitis, Rasputin, Mission Settlement Agency and alleged co-conspirators which may be turned over to victims of the debt settlement fraud charges revealed this morning. They are also targeting his stake in Rasputin Restaurant, at 2670 Coney Island Avenue.
They also list two properties owned by Levitis – his home at 1001 Oriental Boulevard, and another property at 132 Norfolk Street.
If Levitis is found guilty and ordered to compensate as many as 2,200 victims of fraud through Mission Settlement Agency’s services, the properties will be liquidated to reimburse the victims.
The charges revealed this morning allege that Levitis and three co-conspirators offered debt settlement services, in which they collected fees without doing the services they advertised. Moreover, they are believed to have made false claims about their fees and their track record. And while clients forked over millions of dollars to be paid to their creditors, little if any ever made it that way. Instead, Levitis used it to pay operating expenses at Rasputin, lease two luxury Mercedes, and pay down his mother’s credit card debt.
Aside from the four that were charged this morning, two other Mission sales representatives were also charged: Felix Lemberskiy and Zakhir Shirinov. These two employees have been separately charged and have already pleaded guilty.
Mission Settlement Agency also went by the names Mission Abstract LLC and Alpha Debt Settlement.
Here’s the statement from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Below it is a copy of the indictment against Mission.
Here’s the indictment against Mission.