Okay, so Robert Mueller closed up shop without indicting anybody named Trump. But don’t say Russiaphobia was all just a hysterical delusion. For example, Mueller caught his Mr. Big, Richard Pinedo, the Kremlin’s man in Santa Paula. From the L.A. Times:
By MATT HAMILTON, JAMES QUEALLY and MICHAEL LIVINGSTON
FEB 16, 2018 | 6:10 PM
| SANTA PAULA, CALIF.
A California man who pleaded guilty to identity theft as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was a self-described digital marketing strategist who once ran a website that helped people get around security measures for online marketplaces such as Amazon and EBay.
Richard Pinedo, 28, of Santa Paula, pleaded guilty this month to one count of identity fraud as part of the investigation, according to court documents made public Friday by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. …
Through the company, Pinedo sold bank account numbers to users, according to court documents. He often purchased stolen bank information over the internet before selling it to his clients. …
While the criminal charge against Pinedo says he knowingly dealt with people outside the U.S. — both in buying and selling account numbers — a law enforcement official told The Times there is no evidence that he knew he was dealing with a Russian intelligence operation.
He profited “tens of thousands of dollars” from the sale of banking information online through Auction Essistance, according to court documents.
Lessem said Pinedo had dealings with some of the defendants listed in the indictment, but stressed that those interactions represented a small piece of his client’s overall business.
So, a small fraction of Pinedo’s “tens of thousands of dollars” came from Russians?
Santa Paula is an 80% Hispanic farm town that claims to be the “Citrus Capital of the World.” David Spade’s 2001 movie Joe Dirt was filmed there.
Pinedo also had a brief stint as a sales associate at LA Fitness, and his online resume said he attended Ventura College, earning a computer science associate’s degree in 2009
The Special Prosecutor released this video of Pinedo’s entry, while working at LA Fitness, into the wilderness of mirrors that is international intelligence intrigue: