NorCal man charged with wire fraud alleging he scammed digital media outfit he ran with fraudulent bills from other companies | USAO-CDCA


LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today indicted the former CEO of a Los Angeles-based digital media company on charges that he founded a series of companies that allegedly defrauded his employer of at least $3 million. dollars by submitting invoices for services never provided or at inflated prices.

Victor Belonogoff, 46, who is believed to reside in San Mateo, Calif., is charged in the indictment with defrauding Render Media, Inc., a Beverly Grove-based company he co-founded and ran until late 2018. Belonogoff is charged in the indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud.

Belonogoff, through his attorney, agreed to surrender to federal authorities on April 26.

Belonogoff, who held several positions at Render, including chief executive, secretly formed six digital media and advertising companies which he used to defraud Render, according to the indictment. Belonogoff allegedly tricked Render into paying his fraudulent digital media companies for products and services that were never provided or were sold to Render at inflated prices. Belonogoff is accused of diverting Render’s inbound revenue to his fraudulent digital media companies, using Render’s lines of credit to support them, and using the shell companies to misappropriate Render’s brand and content.

The indictment specifically alleges that Belonogoff made Render pay one of his companies for video content that was never delivered. Belonogoff also allegedly tricked two of the fraudulent companies into selling Render’s internet traffic at inflated prices and re-coding the internet traffic sold to Render to make it look like his companies were generating that traffic. Belonogoff also caused one of his companies to publish Render’s content while retaining 90% of the revenue generated from that content, according to the indictment.

To cover up his fraud, Belonogoff allegedly deleted emails from his Render account and later provided false testimony during a deposition in a lawsuit filed against him by Render.

The indictment alleges that Belonogoff forced Render to pay his fraudulent digital media companies more than $3 million, much of which went to his personal accounts and was used for his personal gain.

An indictment contains allegations that an accused has committed a crime. Any defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and unless proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted of the wire fraud charges in the indictment, Belonogoff faces a maximum legal sentence of 20 years in federal prison on each of the 10 counts.

Federal prosecutors previously charged one of Belonogoff’s co-conspirators with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Aryeh Kluger, 34, of San Antonio, who was vice president of Render, pleaded guilty to the charge in October 2020, admitting that he and Belonogoff “exploit[ed] Render’s business model using a sophisticated embezzlement scheme involving third-party companies they controlled. U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson is scheduled to sentence Kluger on Oct. 24.

The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating this case.

Assistant United States Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Major Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.


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