South Florida pawn shop owner arrested in $53 million money laundering probe – NBC 6 South Florida

A South Florida pawn shop owner was arrested on federal charges after authorities said his businesses were used in a money laundering operation that could involve tens of millions of dollars.

Andrey Perov, 38, was arrested Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to launder money instruments, conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity, and operating a money transmitting business without a license, according to a criminal complaint.

Andrey Perov

The complaint details the years-long FBI investigation into Perov and his businesses, Bee Pawn LLC in Miami and Hard Rock Giffies, a pawn shop in Hollywood.

According to the complaint, in 2019, a confidential source who pled guilty in Broward to drug trafficking charges started cooperating with the government and identified a co-conspirator of Perov who had in the past laundered drug proceeds.

The informant reached out to the co-conspirator saying he had $110,000 in drug proceeds and had pled guilty to distribution of controlled substances.

He told the co-conspirator he was facing a three-year prison sentence and wanted to provide his wife money while behind bars, and the co-conspirator said he didn’t want to launder the money but offered to introduce the information to someone who could, Perov, the complaint said.

The co-conspirator said Perov had a business that bought gift cards for cash, and he always needed cash to purchase the gift cards.

The informant had a conversation with Perov in 2021, and Perov said he owned pawn shops and could always use cash to purchase gift cards, the complaint said.

At one point, the informant told Perov it was drug money from selling pills, the complaint said.

“Pills? Okay. No, I don’t judge,” Perov said, according to the complaint.

Perov agreed to receive $11,000 in cash from the informant to launder through his pawn shops, and the funds were wired to the informant in exchange for the drug proceeds, the complaint said.

Perov told the informant to deal with his assistant in the future for money laundering and on three occasions in 2021, the informant provided cash, about $99,000, to Perov’s assistant, which would be laundered through the pawn shops, the complaint said.

The informant later told Perov’s assistant he had an associate who dealt with gift cards and the associate, another informant, gave the gift cards to Perov’s assistant, which “were represented either to have been stolen or fraudulently acquired,” the complaint said.

In December 2021, the second confidential informant met with Perov’s assistant and provided $40,000 worth of gift cards in exchange for a price less than the face amount, the complaint said.

From December 2021 to November 2022, the second informant provided Perov’s assistant with about $540,000 worth of gift cards and received about $460,000 in return, the complaint said.

At the time, Perov didn’t have a required license to redeem gift cards, the complaint said.

The co-conspirator said about 70% of all gift cards and 100% of all money orders sold to Perov’s stores were fraudulent, the complaint said.

In February 2024, authorities received a search warrant to search an online ledger kept by Perov of all his gift card and money order transactions.

The ledger showed that from 2017 through the date of the search, Perov’s pawn shops had collectively redeemed for cash about $53 million in money orders and gift cards, the complaint said.

The gift cards were from Visa, American Express, Marshall’s, Target, Walmart and other companies.

Around $2 million in gift cards had been denied, or blocked due to theft or fraud, the complaint said.

Some of Perov’s top customers were listed under false names in the ledger to hide their identities. The fake names used included “Tom Hanks,” “Michael Jackson,” and “Fats Fatz,” the complaint said.

The ledger showed one person had redeemed over $700,000 in gift cards and two others had redeemed over $600,000 in gift cards. Over a dozen other people had redeemed more than six figures’ worth of gift cards, the complaint said.

Perov was booked into the Broward County jail where he remained held on a U.S. Marshals hold, records showed.

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