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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Dom-2' Contestant Gets 4 Years for Fraud

THTAlexei Adeyev
Police gave up chasing a fraudster after receiving information that he had fled to Belarus. But then he surfaced on national television as a contestant on the scandalous reality show "Dom-2: Build Your Love."

Alexei Adeyev was arrested on the set of "Dom-2" in Moscow after a Smolensk woman he scammed out of almost $2,000 saw him on television.

A Smolensk court convicted Adeyev, 26, of fraud on Thursday and sentenced him to four years in a maximum-security prison.

Adeyev, who worked for a Smolensk real estate company, disappeared on Oct. 25, 2004, after accepting $1,900 from the Smolensk woman as a 10 percent down payment on an apartment, a spokeswoman for the Smolensk regional prosecutor's office said Tuesday.

"We put a federal warrant out for his arrest after the woman reported him, but we assumed that he had fled to Belarus," Dmitry Grashenko, deputy prosecutor of the Zadneprovsky district prosecutor's office in Smolensk, said by telephone.

Adeyev, however, never made it that far, and he reappeared some six months later on television screens as a contestant on "Dom-2," a reality show broadcast on THT that follows a group of single young women and men as they build a house. Participants vote one person off the show every week. The participants' goal is to fall in love, and the finished house will go to a couple picked by viewers at the end of the season.

But it took only one viewer to ended up seal Adeyev's fate: the Smolensk woman, Russian media reported. She saw him on the show and alerted the police.

Grashenko could not confirm who had called the police, but he said that police showed up on the set on July 20, two weeks into the season, and arrested Adeyev.

"It was a harebrained idea by him," Grashenko said of Adeyev's decision to join the show.

Adeyev could have received a lighter sentence on the fraud charge, but Judge Anatoly Khlebnikov of the Zadneprovsky District Court took into account two previous convictions for reckless driving and theft, Grashenko said.

"Dom-2" producer Alexei Mikhailovsky said all of the reality show's participants underwent background checks, but that it was almost impossible to check for criminal records.

Dom-2 has "real people with real fates," Mikhailovsky said in a statement sent by e-mail on Tuesday.

Adeyev's lawyer, Alexander Kukharev, said he could not immediately comment on his client's conviction. A follow-up telephone call went unanswered.

Editor's note: Moscow police said weekly crime statistics were unavailable Tuesday due to a technical problem.