A Sherman Oaks man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a bank fraud charge has admitted to federal authorities that he sought to have a witness in the case killed in a drive-by shooting, officials said Wednesday.
Pavel Valkovich, 28, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of solicitation of murder for offering to pay $10,000 to arrange for the slaying of a man who was cooperating with authorities in the fraud case against him. Valkovich was involved in a scheme in which he and others used stolen personal identifying information to transfer funds from victims' bank accounts to PayPal accounts he and his cohorts could access, prosecutors contend.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Jennifer L Williams said Valkovich had initially pleaded not guilty in the case and was seeking to have the witness killed to stop him from testifying. When Valkovich later learned that the person had already begun cooperating, he changed his plea to guilty. But he continued with his plan to have the witness killed, Williams said. Only his motive had changed -- to revenge.
Valkovich approached a fellow inmate in the Federal Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles and asked that he arrange for someone to kill the witness with a gun equipped with a silencer, according to prosecutors. Unfortunately for Valkovich, the witness in the fraud case wasn't the only one who ended up cooperating with authorities.
The inmate he approached as a go-between told prosecutors about the plot and agreed to testify against Valkovich.
Valkovich was charged with the crime and transferred to another jail. Apparently unfazed, he approached another inmate, this time about arranging a pair of killings, prosecutors contend. He wanted the original informant dead, as well as the first guy who was supposed to have arranged for his killing. He was willing to pay $40,000 for the job and provided the inmate, who was slated to be released soon, with information about the targets' appearance, residences and cars. He also had a special request, according to prosecutors: He wanted the first inmate he had approached not only killed, but beheaded.
I wonder if it's the same Pavel Valkovich who got into an altercation with Jennifer Lopez's bodyguards six years ago in Miami Beach?