Fugitive from Latvia faces fraud trial in Florida

A man described as an organized crime gang leader and a fugitive from a Latvian jail is set to go on trial in Florida for fraud and other charges, according to court documents and the Associated Press.

Using the alias Rustan Hodjaev, Vadīms Liede was arrested July 9, 2002, in Coral Springs, Fla. The 36-year-old Liede is one of four men charged Oct. 15 by federal authorities with identity fraud, motor vehicle theft and conspiracy involving efforts to cheat some Florida automobile dealers. Liede, also known as Pablo, has pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal district court in Miami.

The FBI identified Hodjaev as Liede based on fingerprint records, the Associated Press reported. The Latvian state prosecutor’s office is expected to seek Liede’s extradition.

Liede was one of 10 inmates who escaped in 1993 from the Pārlielupe prison in Jelgava, Latvia, where he was serving a 13-year term for organized crime. Liede also is wanted in Poland on charges of murder, robbery and heading an international gang.

Liede’s jury trial is scheduled to begin July 28 in federal district court in Miami.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *