Bishop Bondaruk’s son goes to prison again


Pyotr Bondaruk lost his appeal and will return to prison for the remaining term.

“Bondaruk was willing to lie, cheat, and conceal his fraud. He did this for money,” Assistant United States Attorneys Lee S. Bickley.

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The case of the son of Pentecostal Bishop Pyotr Bondaruk ended in the Federal Court for the Eastern District of California. As “Slavic Sacramento” got to know, the judge Troy L. Nunley sentenced the 50-year-old native of Estonia, who had previously been charged with real estate fraud, again to that same sentence. 

In 2015, Pyotr Bondaruk was sentenced to 71 months in prison for fraud with two homes in the Sacramento region, of which he spent a little more than three years and was released on bail while his appeal was being under consideration. The bail in the amount of $100,000 was paid by his father, Bishop Adam Bondaruk and his other son – realtor Ben Bondaruk.

During the appeal, Bondaruk’s lawyer asked for a reduction of the imprisonment term, justifying his request by the fact that Poytr took the path of correction and even got married. The Federal prosecutor’s office, represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Lee S. Bickley, opposed the reduction of the term, arguing that Bondaruk “will commit crime again. The public needs to be protected from his further crimes.” 

“The defendant was previously convicted of negligent driving, reckless driving, sex penetration with a foreign object-victim unaware, grand theft, burglary, and trespass… In this case, the jury convicted Bondaruk of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and money laundering. Bondaruk played an important role in this crime. For each and every loan in this conspiracy, Bondaruk was the straw-buyer. He also personally laundered $91,000 of the fraudulent proceeds of the conspiracy and substantially profited from the conspiracy,” said in the Recentencing Memorandum.

The court materials indicate that in order to acquire one of the houses in the Sacramento region, in 2006 Pyotr Bondaruk misrepresented his intention to live in the properties, among other things, in his signed loan applications. Though he not only didn’t live at his new property address, but he also personally rented the homes to other people… Moreover, in the loan application Pyotr indicated that he makes 14,120.67 thousand dollars a month, and he had $24,000 in his bank account. That turned out to be a complete lie. In reality, in 2006, Bondaruk lived with his girlfriend Palamarchuk, and was making at most $2,560 a 20 year doing auto repair from her house.

“This defendant has never once accepted responsibility for his conduct. He blames the banks. He blames Palamarchuk. He is not sorry. He doesn’t want to change. Pyotr Bondaruk still deserves a sentence of 71 months for his fraud,” the Prosecutor insisted. “The mortgage crisis decimated the national economy and especially the Sacramento region. It impacted individuals’ 401k’s and wreaked havoc in neighborhoods where houses remained vacant. Without individuals like Pyotr Bondaruk, who were willing to take advantage of a system that was based to a significant degree on trust and honesty, this could not have happened.”

Bondaruk, through his lawyer, tried to downplay his role in a large-scale fraudulent scheme. In particular, Bondaruk’s lawyer wrote in the court: “Mr. Bondaruk was a straw buyer who lacked the experience unlike his co-conspirator Olga Palamarchuk. She influenced him.” 

As a result, the court upheld the original decision: the son of a well-known religious figure Adam Bondaruk will have to spend about 3 years behind bars, and after his release from prison, Pyotr Bondaruk will be under probation of local law enforcement agencies for 36 months.

Bondaruk will be serving out his term as before – in one of the federal prisons in Northern California, in August of this year he will have to voluntarily surrender to the federal authorities.

It is known that Pyotr Bondaruk has filed for a second review of his case with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

We should admit that all the participants of the high-profile trial of “religious realtors”, who filed appeals for reconsideration of their cases, were denied. And Bethany Slavic Missionary Church asked a federal judge to pardon the episcopal son, but the application was also denied. The main participants of the real estate fraud had received long prison terms and are currently in prison.

Pyotr Bondaruk has a long list of crimes he perpetrated. As Slavic Sacramento reported, the son of the Bishop of the Union of Churches of Christians of the Evangelical Faith and the unchanging senior pastor of Bethany Church had been repeatedly prosecuted in California. In particular, Bondaruk was found guilty of thefts and burglaries. Pyotr Adamovich Bondaruk is also a sex offender and, therefore, listed in the federal database of sexual offenders for attempting to rape a girl in Santa Rosa County in 1998.

According to the Estonian National Archives, it seems like Pyotr Bondaruk was also involved in some criminal activities way back in the Soviet Union.

Ruslan Gurzhiy,