David Vyner was arrested in Broward County, Florida for alleged grand theft in the last weeks of April, according to news sources. Vyner, 36, is currently being held without bail bond on the charge, along with several others. He has also been hit with an immigration hold. It is not clear whether the Hollywood, Florida resident has retained a private criminal defense lawyer to fight the many charges against him.
The grand theft charge is purportedly in connection to an incident in which Vyner accepted $1,050 as payment for a service that he never delivered. Vyner is the owner of a Hallandale Beach business called Consular Services Agency, which caters to Russian customers wishing to acquire Russian citizenship for U.S.-born children or to obtain or renew Russian passports, sources indicate. The alleged victim reportedly told authorities that he gave Vyner $1,050 to perform a passport renewal, but that the renewal never occurred.
According to news reports, Vyner is facing charges in connection to several other cases as well. In the media, he is being portrayed as a con man who has gone by a slew of different names and professions. The allegations are similar to those recently brought up against Matthew Scheidt of Osceola County, who also allegedly masqueraded as a professional. The press alleges that Vyner has pretended to be a rabbi, doctor, and lawyer, although Vyner has reportedly explained that he received such credentials in Russia. It is unclear whether evidence of the credentials has surfaced.
In one of these, he was reportedly accused of prescription fraud. Vyner purportedly testified that he has a medical degree which he obtained in Russia, and he has a badge from Hollywood’s Memorial Regional Hospital identifying him as a doctor. Broward County Officials evidently believe that Vyner forged OxyContin prescriptions, although the circumstances of the alleged forgery are not entirely clear. Memorial Regional Hospital confirmed in a statement that Vyner had a “former relationship with the hospital” but declined to comment further on the allegations. They did, however, state that “no staff or patients were affected” by the incident.
Vyner is also facing charges of practicing law without a license, sources indicate. Vyner has reportedly said on several occasions that he is licensed to perform legal services. He allegedly offered to perform such services on numerous occasions, including for Sergey and Tatiana Ponyatovsky, a Russian South Florida couple that says that they paid Vyner $250,000 for immigration services. Vyner’s ex-wife reportedly testified that Vyner had acted as an attorney for Russain refugees seeking immigration services as well, and sources indicate that he had at least six Russian clients since 2005, when he reportedly agreed as part of a plea deal that he would cease to act as a lawyer.
In late 2010, Vyner was hit with a second charge of unlicensed practice of law, news reports indicate. When he heard of the arrest warrant, he allegedly fled to Washington D.C., where he told authorities that he wanted to present evidence that he was being framed by Broward officials. It is not clear whether he was able to do so. During the arrest, authorities allegedly discovered an Albanian diplomatic passport in Vyner’s possession, for which he was charged with aggravated identity theft and visa fraud. It is not clear whether Vyner offered an explanation as to why he had the passport.