HOLLYWOOD, FL – Volusia sheriff’s detectives working with Homeland Security agents and police in Hollywood, Florida., have identified two Ukrainian nationals who rented a house in the U.S. and scammed $40,000 from a New Smyrna Beach-area man in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to authorities, the 77-year-old victim’s money, recovered in the form of cash and money orders inside the suspects’ vacation rental in Hollywood, will be returned to him. One suspect, Andriy Dankiv, 34, was arrested in Hollywood while the other, Oleh Terekh, fled the country. Dankiv reportedly is or was a professional soccer player for Toronto Atomic FC in the Canadian Soccer League.
The investigation began last Thursday, after the victim reported he shipped $40,000 cash in a shoebox to an address in Hollywood to avoid being arrested on a warrant. He had received multiple calls from persons claiming to be federal and local law enforcement officers, threatening him with arrest if he didn’t send the money.
Detective Sgt. Julian Elmazi contacted the Hollywood Police Department and Homeland Security for immediate assistance, and the investigation identified Dankiv and Terekh, who had just arrived in the area earlier this month. Hollywood PD Det. Lucy Daviglus was able to recover video surveillance of UPS delivering the package to Terekh, and then obtained a search warrant for the property.
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Execution of the search warrant resulted in the recovery of $23,000 cash and $34,000 in money orders, mostly linked to the New Smyrna Beach victim’s cash. Another package of $10,000 belonging to another victim was also recovered. Dankiv was arrested on a charge of grand theft. An arrest warrant will be sought for Terekh.
“Scumbag scam artists like these will probably never stop preying on the vulnerable, but in Volusia County we’ll never quit coming after them,” said Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who will be issuing commendations to all involved in the investigation. “Thanks to the hard work of everyone who jumped on this case, today one less victim has to lose his savings.”
This was the second recent major scam case where Volusia detectives have been able to make an arrest and recover tens of thousands of dollars for the victim. In May, Sgt. Elmazi and team seized the bank accounts of a suspect in Las Vegas who scammed a New Smyrna Beach-area woman out of $41,000. That suspect, Jeffrey Sorgatz, was later extradited to Volusia County to face a charge of grand theft over $20,000.