back to article Bloke gets six months for fixing up Russia's US election trolls with bank accounts, fake identities

A California man who provided bank accounts to Russian online trolls seeking to monkey with America's 2016 elections will spend the next six months or so behind bars. Richard Pinedo was sentenced on Wednesday in a Washington DC district court some eight months after admitting to one count of identity fraud in a plea deal with …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    > Pindeo was able to escape harsher charges by agreeing to cooperate with the Mueller investigation

    Beware of polonium-laced tea... or eau de novichok.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nah, he'll probably get a pardon..

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lucky...

    Knowing how the US like to make examples of people committing financial crimes, he's gotten off incredibly light!

    1. Rashomon

      Re: Lucky...

      He gets six months and we get four years of trump. He should be strapped in front of CNN all day with his eyes taped open like Alex in Clockwork Orange.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presidential Pardon...

    ... for services rendered?

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Presidential Pardon...

      Have you actually taken a look at the Facebook posts that Russian trolls posted? There are just as many anti-Trump posts then thee are anti-Hillary. And many of the posts where designed to stoke racial tensions and had nothing to do with either candidate.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Presidential Pardon...

        Remind me again, does stoking racial (and societal) tensions favour the right-wing candidate, or the slightly-left-of-right-wing one more?

        Hint: "Divide and Conquer" isn't really very socialist.

        1. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: Presidential Pardon...

          "Remind me again, does stoking racial (and societal) tensions favour the right-wing candidate, or the slightly-left-of-right-wing one more?"

          It probably helps the Dems slightly more then the Repubs since 88% of Black Americans voted for the Dem candidate in 2016, but I don't think that was the motivation. All the reports seam to indicate that Russia's intention was purely to create discord and division within the US population.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Presidential Pardon...

            If you then use a very public meeting with Kanye West husband of Kim Kardashian you have some careful attempts to split the black vote as a counter measure.

            Nuts as it may seem West is just a pawn in Trumps game and a very powerful one.

            Republicans don't usually benefit from the black vote so if you can take say 5% that can be a winning margin.

      2. ukgnome Silver badge

        Re: Presidential Pardon...

        Chances are the anti-Trump posts have been posted by the Russian trolls to make it look balanced.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    100 hours of community service

    What?

    Running errands to the Bank for the account holders?

    He already has their details.

    Better check your pockets -->

  5. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Stop

    D'oh

    I've been trying for ages to get a friend to understand the downside(s) of Facebook. She has created a local interest group. Yesterday she came into the office and wanted to update something so I let her use my laptop. She could not work out why only half the FB page was visible. "Do I have to login to your computer?", she asked. I replied that for those outside FB's walled garden most of this info is invisible.

    What can you do? :(

  6. Len Silver badge
    Meh

    When does the UK start sentencing people?

    When are we going to see sentences for people who have been meddling in the UK's electoral processes?

    * We've had immense amounts of money (most likely from foreign actors) sloshing around in our national politics and showing up in political advertising campaigns.

    * We've had political campaign leaders who have been awfully close to the Kremlin and are not even denying it as they feel they can get away with it.

    * We've had orchestrated social media campaigns pushing questionable content to sow divisions among the electorate. Many of those social media accounts have since been traced back to the Internet Research Agency.

    * We’ve hade the whole Cambridge Analytica / Aggregate IQ / SCL Elections / Emerdata scandal.

    * We've had political campaigns breaking electoral spending laws in criminal fashion and getting away with a warning.

    * We have an Electoral Commission who sees some of this stuff happening but is toothless as they are funded by people who benefit from the status quo.

    1. AndyS

      Re: When does the UK start sentencing people?

      @Len, I agree 100%.

      Despite the shit-storm that is the US political landscape, at least there are other branches trying to sort out the mess. It almost seems like, in the long run, they may make it harder to repeat the current mess.

      The UK, meanwhile, is clearly being just as badly attacked, but I'm yet to see anything suggesting we've really attempted to take it seriously.

      1. Craigie Bronze badge

        Re: When does the UK start sentencing people?

        Well the Tories are still in power so I don't see anything happening about election interference any time soon.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: When does the UK start sentencing people?

          Exactly, nobody's about to start investigating their own sources of funding...

        2. Len Silver badge

          Re: When does the UK start sentencing people?

          Once in a while a UK government does something magnanimous.

          The Conservatives set up the Office for Budget Responsibility, an independent watchdog for government finances. I bet they regret it now, but it’s too late fortunately.

          The Labour government before them introduced the Freedom of Information system. Something they regretted later.

          I hope that, whoever takes over after the current mess (unless it’s a colonel’s regime) has the balls to set up a proper independent electoral watchdog at sufficient distance to take action against sitting politicians.

          Did you know that a large part of the current Electoral Commission ‘rules’ are only advisory? Some local organisations charged with organising elections can ignore them if they want without punishment. Ideally the organising of elections is taken away from the Cabinet Office(!) and given to a properly independent and empowered electoral watchdog. Ideally a watchdog that answers to parliament, not the government.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: When does the UK start sentencing people?

      When are we going to see sentences for people who have been meddling in the UK's electoral processes?

      I agree, but in all likelihood the stiffest sentence we would see from our noble judiciary would be along the lines of, "Now run along and don't be a naughty boy again". Then again, 6 months in choke in the USA seems to be almost that .. when compared against some of the sentences we have seen handed out in the USA for what appeared to be relatively minor crimes.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When does the UK start sentencing people?

      You have to remember London is the money laundering capital of the world has been for centuries.

      Why have dodgy russians piled in?

      We also benefit from that cash.

      I agree what you present is a problem..but losing that cash is also a problem.

  7. phuzz Silver badge

    Given the IRS's legendary proclivity for taxing people who don't even live in the US, I'm guessing not many people try to open US bank accounts from abroad normally.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Non-residents often have need of US bank accounts, given how expensive, unreliable and cumbersome it is to transfer small sums in and out of the US banking system (and by "small", I mean under $10,000).

      And while the US does indeed continue to tax its citzens who no longer live in the USA, non-citizens are fine: if your home country has a tax treaty with the USA, you simply sign the declaration that you are not a US citizen, and IRS won't touch your account. They will, however, gladly report it to your home country's tax authorities if asked.

      There's nothing very onerous in place to prevent a non-resident opening a US account, but-- and this is where nashi druzya hit their personal roadblock-- you do need to provide a fair amount of documentation to prove your identity. Honest actors will already have such ID, of course. The difficulties with this system occur when you want to open an account without revealing who you really are... which is fair enough, as that's precisely why the checks are there in the first place.

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