Over one year since the last update...partly due to slow moving federal courts and partly because of the overwhelming ongoing effort to keep things going at PBV, to be honest.
There were four defendants in the case. Three had already served their sentences once handed to them. The principal defendant is still in custody.
"SERGIY BEZRUKOV is currently incarcerated at USP Lewisburg and is scheduled for release on July 6, 2021. The inmate is not eligible for parole. Please be assured that, unless otherwise requested, we will keep you informed of all significant release-related activities pertaining to this inmate during the period of incarceration."
All four defendants were fined $100 each.
We remain clawing back to the surface, frankly. We could've filed bankruptcy and swept everyone we owe under the rug along with the proceedings therein.
We learned last week the restitution we'd been informed would be a slam dunk is not that. By law, that process won't start until after July 6, 2021, when the final defendant has finished serving his sentence, and then there is a rigorous sequence of events that take place.
Meanwhile, our creditworthiness lost over the fraud is just now starting to subside positively--though it will be some time before we regain our previous stature--as we've recently been approved for a modest sum of borrowing. IT'S A GOOD SIGN IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
In order to keep things alive we have re-organized the operation and shed a lot of expense over the past five months. The flip side is that we were decentralized during the the transition causing a fall off in sales. We're just coming back onlne with a more efficient and lean stance.
We're insane for not opting for bankruptcy but as run down as the couple of us feel internally, we're standing by our mission to get back on our feet.
We're struggling to pay off the last debts to a few of our suppliers and independent labels. We have not enjoyed any cash reserves for four years nor a borrowing luxury as a result of the crimes committed (somehow here we still are with black eyes and bodily bruises standing--well in big part to the GoFundMe contributions--thank you again).
Our devotion remains. Our stamina is waning.
We want to keep going for the long haul.
Meeting our original goal set for this campaign would boost our morale and infuse the company to get back on a steady rhythm with our suppliers.
We're offering a gift card to PBV of equal value for contributions made from today forward in hopes of reaching the original $20,000 campaign goal--that's $9,100 to go.
December 18, 2018 - from Hugh
Greetings to all,
Our previous update contained the copy from the US Dept of Justice letter notifying us of the federal trial scheduled to begin in November in Buffalo, New York.
Since then the trial has been rescheduled twice--first to December 17th then finally to January 14th.
My testimony appearance is January 22nd.
Meanwhile, we've been doing everything within our capacity to keep PBV alive. Admittedly it has become an ever more exhausting effort after having had the uplifting support via this GFM campaign kicked off 10 months ago. If you're reading this message, I'll ask you to send us a split second smile and warm thought for a good outcome next month in court, and if you know a friend who could be interested in our story, to share it with them. Thank you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
All the best from San Diego
September 27, 2018 - from US Dept Of Justice
Re: United States v. Sergiy Bezrukov and Mark Farnham
Per our recent telephone conversation you expressed your willingness to accept service of the enclosed Federal Trial Subpoena via email. Upon receipt, please reply to this email acknowledging your receipt of the attached trial subpoena.
The trial is scheduled to commence before Honorable Lawrence J. Vilardo on November 18, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. at United States District Court, Robert H. Jackson Courthouse, 2 Niagara Square, Room 870, Buffalo, New York 14202.
Although the trial begins on November 18, 2018, you will likely be required to provide testimony at a later date. You will be contacted prior to commencement of this trial to confirm the date and time of testimony.
Jaime D Preston
Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division
September 23, 2018 - from Hugh
More here on the federal case folks.
Last week the IRS investigator who took our statement in April 2017 called with an update informing me I’ll know in 2-4 weeks if I’ll be subpoenaed to testify in the trial calendared November 2018 in Buffalo, New York.
I'll continue to share the unfolding events and thanks yet again for your meaningful support. - h
August 15, 2018 - from Hugh
We're still here guys. Without a doubt, it would've been impossible without the support. So again, thank you!
Just a couple of things:
#1 We're about 75% complete on sending rewards. Hang tight if you haven't received yours, and thank for your patience.
#2 We recently received these two updates on the federal courts case, for those interested to know:
8/6/2018: The sentencing previously scheduled for defendant(s) Dustin Walker on August 8, 2018, 10:00 AM at US Courthouse, 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY 14202-3350 has been cancelled. We'll continue to provide you with updated case scheduling and event information. You will be notified when a new sentencing date has been scheduled.
8/14/2018: The sentencing previously scheduled for defendant(s) Vanessa Cardona on October 9, 2018, 10:00 AM at US Courthouse, 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY 14202-3350 has been cancelled. VNS will continue to provide you with updated case scheduling and event information.
Simply a waiting game.
That's it for now.
All the best from San Diego
March 11, 2018 - from Friends of Pacific Beach Vinyl
San Diego's ABC affiliate 10News caught wind of this Gofundme campaign and contacted the PBV gang for the story. The piece aired last week. Here it is.
February 27, 2018 – from Friends of Pacific Beach Vinyl
Folks we are nearly at the 10k mark, and PBV is truly grateful for the support through the campaign. They've started the fulfilment process on your awards. Now, we will pick up the lender madness story from last week to complete the saga of how PBV got here.
Boxed into a corner by the lender withdrawal and the debt reduction firm’s negligence, the situation went from bad to worse. PBV was presented with another offer by a corporate turnaround company. Their function, or their claim was to restore a suffering business’ health by means of suing usurious lenders. Frustrated by what had happened to them, PBV felt like they had nothing to lose in going after their initial loan partners.
Well this turnaround company shook down PBV in the fall of 2016 for $10k in service costs and disappeared from the radar. PBV caught sight of them again when contacted by the Justice Department who confirmed to PBV that they were indeed the victims of an unbelievable scheme.
Here is an excerpt from the DOJ letter:
“Unfortunately, you have been identified as a victim of crime in a Bank and Mail Fraud. The premise of this Bank and Mail Fraud was to defraud individuals and small businesses by means of false or fraudulent representations or promises. Operating under at least 30 different business names, including Corporate Restructure Inc. and Corporate Settlement Corporation these individuals made promises that they could restructure high interest, short-term loans. They would start withdrawing money from the bank accounts of these small businesses/individuals and would never pay or contact the original creditors as promised. Hence, causing the businesses/individuals to quickly default on their loans.
In cases of this kind, the victims of the crime are often left with a burden of debt that may seem insurmountable to them. Creditors may also be burdened and suffer a secondary impact from the criminal activity while a 'bad credit rating' further stigmatizes the victim [compounding matters unbearably]."
From this nightmare there was only one way left to go-- upwards. PBV began negotiating with past creditors directly on their agreements successfully and establised terms that were far less punishing. Today there is light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.
Restitution will eventually take place. The $10,000 stolen will someday be returned once the court process is complete. That’s still a long way off, but isn’t it interesting this fundraiser is just about at the $10,000 mark.
PBV is deeply grateful for the support and wishes to share with you that funds have been used to pay down debts to creditors and suppliers. If the fundraising goal is met, PBV will look to complete its digital service platform—in the works since August 2016. and in the the finishing stages with just a bit more development work to do.
We will keep this go fund me going and are going to jumpstart week 3 by offering this very cherry Urei for $3,500.00. Also, minimum contributions now begin at $10.
From PBV: again our thanks, it has been difficult but we love what we are doing and we look forward to continuing our work and providing you with great service. Lots of love and all the best from San Diego.
February 20, 2018 - from Friends of Pacific Beach Vinyl
In the initial request for help we felt the need to consolidate this story and to also keep it concise and big picture driven for obvious reasons, PBV had been defrauded and needed help plain and simple. We are all appreciative of how customers and friends have responded to the crisis and will attempt in this short missive to give you a fuller picture of what happened. Thanks in advance for reading.
PBV had an initial credit consolidation deal, once that deal was broken it sent PBV into a tail spin they are still fighting to recover from. PBV was dealing with its original burden of debt and a friendly introduction was made to a firm specializing in debt mitigation. PBV signed with the firm and set a new course that in planning would allow PBV to recover and grow like so many small businesses.
Two months into the engagement in early 2016, the firms account rep handling PBV left without notice and no one picked up his task nor their account. PBV persistently reached out to the firm without response. The negligence had a corrosive effect--levies were placed on the bank accounts and payment processing services. All sales were being garnished to pay the old loans the shady lender had promised to eradicate before walking away and this debt firm was hired to negotiate against. This neglect was staggering and almost shut PBV down.
There was however a third event which followed, and it's the one leading to this fundraising effort. We’ll leave off this tale of woe here, but you will learn the harrowing details involving the Justice Department, as well as, Dept of Homeland Security, IRS and US Postal Service.
On a side but related note Hugh has made it clear he wants Edward Norton to play him in the film version.
The friends of PBV thank you for the outpouring of support. PBV mentioned rewards fulfillment begins this week. On that note, they are offering a new retroactive tier at $100. See the update below and we’ll finish the story in the coming days.
February 13, 2018 - from Friends of Pacific Beach Vinyl
Hola vinyl lovers. This Gofundme is being started to help our friends at Pacific Beach Vinyl in a time of real need while simultaneously giving you something in return.
PBV is a retailer and distributor of finely curated 12” records and LP’s, based in San Diego. Established in early 2014, PBV filled a need in North America by importing select records demanded by knowing individuals and working DJ’s who up to that time had been relegated to purchasing the items overseas.
PBV quickly became known and established as a reputable record dealer. Soon after, pre-existing music stores around the world took note, which organically started a wholesale division that has overtaken the retail side as the company's sales leader.
With growth came the need for expansive working capital. Methodically, PBV navigated a planned borrowing course and a clear path to continue an upward arc. In late 2015, PBV was offered an agreement that would consolidate its existing debt and allow it to grow to the next level and unchain itself from the toxicity of the high-priced loans on its books.
The picture was rosy and the future bright, but soon it became troubled when PBV learned of a deal they made was with an unscrupulous predatory lender. As PBV began new relationships with suppliers and record labels, the broker of the deal simply walked away from the financing relationship within 30 days. After profiting from an initial round of funding, the broker never intended to follow through with the entire agreement - effectively leaving PBV in a very perilous state with extremely strained capital to claw back from ever since.
The Justice Department has gotten involved and made it clear to management that PBV were indeed victims of a criminal predator. Legal options while being considered are both unlikely to resolve the matter and are prohibitively expensive.
We are asking everyone to give what they can from $10 upward, PBV is looking to ride out this storm and to continue to provide the excellent service and selection that we have grown accustomed to enjoying. The sales and support the shop receives is actually doing well. The credit issues have hamstrung the day-to-day operations however, and funding is needed to keep the lights on through the next quarter and round of creditor negotiations.
The goal is 20K and PBV is down to offer a number of excellent premiums to make it worth your while. Exclusive DJ mixes, vinyl and assorted merchandise, including for the high contributor a very clean vintage Urei rotary mixer, also a year’s free shipping and some lovely membership packages. See the list of goodies at the end of the message.
Help PBV fight the good fight. Give what you can to help this independent business thrive. The PBV business plan is a sound one and there are numerous additions they are looking to bring to their customers, including digital sales, a new podcasting platform and a wider distribution network for the labels that they support.
PBV knows how hard their customers work and also is aware how hard it is to maintain independent labels. With your support PBV will continue to help facilitate the growth of numerous artists and to continue to pollinate the world with good music. Thank you in advance for helping them in this difficult stretch.
If you have any questions regarding the credit issues PBV would be happy to offer a more detailed wonky explanation.
Contact them through this campaign anytime.
One 12" vinyl record
PBV Soaring Bird Slipmat
New and exclusive PBV Office Mix on CD
Your choice of one year of free shipping or one year membership with
15% off all vinyl orders
All the best from San Diego
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