Documents link Russia bribery, murder-for-hire plot to Raleigh FBI investigation

Documents link Russia bribery, murder-for-hire plot to Raleigh FBI investigation
Leonid, left, and Tatyana Teyf (Source: WNCN)

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) - A man is charged for trying to bribe federal law enforcement officials in a plot to have a person deported to Russia, and perhaps subsequently killed, according to documents. His partner and his wife were indicted on Thursday in connection, too.

The FBI believes John Patrick Cotter gave $10,000 to a federal agent in exchange for having a person deported, documents say. CBS 17's Amy Cutler reported from court that 57-year-old Leonid Teyf and his wife, 41-year-old Tatyana, were part of a 29-count indictment on Thursday.

There was an FBI raid at a home on New Market Way Wednesday night that, according to records, is owned by Teyf.

Teyf, a longtime friend and business partner of Cotter's, employed a live-in housekeeper from Russia and her husband. The couple and their son lived in the Raleigh house with the employer.

Teyf believed his wife and the son were involved in a romantic relationship, the document said.

Teyf told a source "he wanted to pay someone to get (the son) talking then overdose" and later "expressed a desire to get information on (the son) in order to get (him) deported to Russia," according to documents.

Teyf also said that the son "would be buried already" if he was back in Russia, the document read. At yet another point, Teyf told the source he wanted the son to be kidnapped, taken to the woods, forced to admit the affair on video, then be killed.

FBI agents located and spoke with the son in Cleveland, Ohio around March 13. He said he left Raleigh because of trouble with Teyf. The agents said they were aware of threats against the son and offered protection for his cooperation, the document said.

The son declined at that time.

About a day later, Cotter went to Atlanta to meet with a Department of Homeland Security Investigations agent. He wanted to remain anonymous, and reported a fraudulent marriage involving the son, the document said.

Cotter went back to the Atlanta HSI office about a month later. He provided additional information about the son, saying where he worked in Ohio and that his mother was in the country illegally. He provided a photo of the son with a firearm, as well as an arrest photograph, the document said.

A second source recorded a meeting on April 15 between him, Cotter, and Teyf. Cotter said he had been trying to locate the son in Ohio. The source said he would be able to locate the son, but it would take "dead presidents," the document read. The source said having the son deported would be easier if he had illegal drugs present.

Teyf offered the source $5,000 monthly to help him. The source also said others in law enforcement may need to be paid, adding that he had a friend in mind. Teyf said he wanted the son deported back to Russia because there would be people waiting for him, the document said.

Cotter and Teyf met with a Department of Homeland Security agent at the Salt and Lime restaurant in Raleigh on May 23. In the meeting, which was recorded, Cotter suggested to the agent that Teyf would provide incentives to the agent in exchange for him investigating the son, the document said.

Cotter and Teyf agreed to provide the agent with $25,000 for an investigation that would lead to the son being deported. Cotter suggested a $10,000 down payment, which Teyf provided in cash in black bag, the document said.

Cotter continued to keep tabs on the investigation into the son. He and the agent talked on the phone and set up meetings at Corner Tavern in Cary, a Sheetz on Airport Boulevard in Morrisville, and at Fortnight Brewing in Cary. The agent, according to the document, said it would be best to pursue evidence that the son engaged in marriage fraud.

Both Leonid Teyf and Tatyana Teyf are being held in the Wake County Jail.

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