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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Terrorism Scam Brings 6 Year Sentence

An area construction worker has been sentenced to six years in prison for phoning in fraudulent terrorist threats to collect $200,000 in reward money.

The Moscow City Court last week convicted Valery Milyayev, 34, on charges of fraud and reporting false terrorist threats, and threw the book at him with consecutive maximum sentences of three years on both counts, court spokeswoman Marina Malygina said.

Milyayev first appeared on the authorities' radar screen Feb. 5, when he notified police that he had information about a terrorist act being planned, the details of which were in a letter that had been tossed into a mailbox, Malygina said.

"He demanded 50,000 rubles [$2,000] for the information," she said. "He met the officers at the mailbox, and they gave him the money after they had the letter in their hands. The letter contained a list of addresses where terrorist acts were supposedly to be carried out. Then he disappeared."

But not for long.

Apparently feeling confident after his early success, Milyayev called the police three days later and told them of a second letter containing information about terrorist acts, Malygina said. And he bumped up his price considerably.

The second time, he demanded the same 50,000 rubles -- and another 5 million rubles ($198,000) for good measure.

By this time, authorities had caught on to Milyayev's scam, Malygina said, and he was arrested in a sting operation after accepting the cash.

Milyayev had penned a third letter but was arrested before he ever got a chance to use it, she said.

In a strange coincidence, the date prosecutors say Milyayev set the scam into action -- Feb. 5 -- was exactly one year after a curious incident involving a bomb threat and two transport police officers in Yekaterinburg.

Prosecutors in Yekaterinburg say that on Feb. 5, 2006, a senior officer was drinking with friends from St. Petersburg at Yekaterinburg's Koltsovo airport when he realized their flight to the northern capital had already taken off.

He then ordered a subordinate to contact the airport's senior dispatcher and fraudulently inform him that there was a bomb on board and that the plane must return to the airport, prosecutors said.

The plane did return, and his friends did make it on board. But an inspection of the aircraft turned up no bomb.

In March, a Yekaterinburg court sentenced the two transport police officers to 21 months in prison for abuse of office and phoning in a false bomb threat.