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Bucks County millionaire pleads guilty in sex case

From Andrew Mogilyansky is a man of many identities.

To his admirers, the Russian-born millionaire is a generous philanthropist. To his international business associates, he’s a Bucks County publisher of the Russian Yellow Pages as well as a car exporter and the owner of a Bensalem company that distributes fire-extinguishing equipment.

To federal prosecutors, however, the 38-year-old father of three is a sex tourist and part of a Russian prostitution ring that preyed on girls younger than 15.

Yesterday in U.S. District Court, Mogilyansky pleaded guilty to traveling for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct and three counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.

Judge Mary A. McLaughlin said she would review the plea before accepting it. She scheduled sentencing for July 30.

If McLaughlin accepts the plea, Mogilyansky could be sentenced to a maximum of eight years and one month in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.

In December, Mogilyansky was charged in a four-count indictment with traveling from Philadelphia to Russia in 2003 to have sex in his St. Petersburg apartment with 13- and 14-year-old girls he obtained from an orphanage.

According to the indictment, Mogilyansky then took his victims to Moscow, where he enlisted them to work as prostitutes in a Internet-based brothel service called Berenika, named for a mythical Russian princess. The service advertised both girls and women for sex.

Federal prosecutors alleged Mogilyansky was a part-owner of Berenika and received a percentage of its profits. When Russian authorities closed in on the operation in 2004, Mogilyansky evaded apprehension, federal authorities said.

After yesterday’s plea hearing, attorney Jack McMahon said Mogilyansky was not one of Berenika’s owners but only a customer who provided a car that was used to transport girls to and from the orphanage.

An investigation by Russian authorities led to the convictions of four conspirators in 2006, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan-Kelly. She said she stood by the government’s assertion that Mogilyansky was active in running the prostitution service.

Local agents for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement led the investigation and were assisted by police in St. Petersburg.

Mogilyansky, a dual citizen of the United States and Russia, founded the International Foundation for Terror Act Victims, a charity that collected more than $1.2 million for the survivors of the 2004 Beslan school massacre in southeastern Russia, according to the organization’s Web site.


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