Black undertakers’ from Dondiki gang are back
The gang tries to steamroll the whole funeral service market of the Ural’s capital.
Despite the fact that Yekaterinburg law enforcement officers recently managed to decapitate the influential gang called Dondiki, they did not break up, but simply changed the structure of their semi-criminal business, sticking to the old modus operandi: corruption, deception, extortion, theft and even hostage taking.
We should remind that last year the leaders of the gang – Maksim Chaika, Denis Sinyak and a rank and file member of the gang Aleksandr Shishkin were taken into custody. Another member of the gang, Denis Yemelyanov, is on the run. All of them are accused of Deliberately Destroying or Damaging someone else's Property (Article 167 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), while Yemelyanov and Chaika are also accused of Robbery (part 4 of Article 162 of the Criminal Code). In total, seven members of the group were imprisoned. They are responsible for a series of car arsons. The cars belonged to their competitors in the funeral business. Apart from that, the defendants are responsible for beating and robbing the owner of a jewelry company.
Nevertheless, the gang continued operating and created many small firms: Kharon, Ritual Help, Ritual 66, IE Malyshev. As the newspaper Novy Den writes, these companies are run by a famous member of Dondiki Dmitry Malyshev (IE Malyshev), former police officer Sergey Divichuk (Ritual Help) with a whole group of assistants, which includes lawyer Maria Lesnykh (consults all agents and members of the group on how to competently build fraud schemes and deceive relatives of the deceased), agents Yevgeny Fomin, Oleg Masasin, Oleg Beklenischev, Alexander Barchuk and others.
And now, let’s tackle the gang’s methods of work. At the end of last year, Ritual Help won a city tender for transportation of unidentified corpses. It was difficult to compete with the company, as it stated that it would do it for free. A special contract was signed with the Moscow City Cemetery Service, and police departments from now on had to notify them about all unclaimed bodies, and at the same time and in general about all known cases of death in the city. Actually, this was exactly the reason they started it all in the first place.
Funeral agencies provide quite specific services, so they can hardly be called client-oriented, they cannot count on regular customers, so the only thing they can do is to be the first one to appear in the house where someone died. And, since the beginning of this year, such valuable information has officially started to pour directly to the office of the Dondiki that, by the way, went even further in optimizing their expenses. The fact is that the services under the "contract" were to be provided for free only if the funeral agency was called by a police officer. Therefore, in order not to carry bodies free of charge, the Dondiki established interaction with the police officers (they had connections), who were to force the relatives of the deceased to call the funeral agency themselves. And, in this case, the usual tariff from 3 to 15 thousand rubles was applied to them. In addition, they would learn about this at the last moment that is just before transportation, when it was already impossible to refuse. There were methods of influencing more stubborn ones: if the clients refused to pay, they simply did not give the deceased's passport which, for some reason, turned out to be in the hands of the "black undertakers", and not of the policemen. Without the ID it was impossible to obtain a certificate of death.
Currently, the law enforcement agencies have statements from residents of Yekaterinburg who complain that the "black undertakers" deceive people by posing as a city service and then issue an invoice that is two or three times higher than the cost of similar services in MUP Kombinat spetsobsluzhivaniya (Special services integrated plant).
Business cards the Dondiki leave to people
As one of the victims said in an interview, Ritual Help openly lied to her that they were the only service to remove the deceased, stating that the service was free of charge, and then clarifying that this is only if all the rest of the goods necessary for burial will be ordered from them. When she threatened to call the police, she was basically locked up in the room and was not let out until she managed to dial the police.
Often, there were cases when the funeral gang appeared without a call, together with the police or ambulance, and even before them.
The funeral affairs masters not only used deception and blackmailing, but also fell back on banal theft. 83-year-old Vyacheslav Schekolev also dealt with Ritual Help that came along with doctors. The pensioner called the ambulance for his wife. The woman died, and the funeral men immediately began to work on the elderly man, before he came to senses from shock. As a result, the man lost 10 thousand rubles for the "free" removal of the body, and after the Ritual Help employee left, the man saw another 70 thousand went missing from his purse. What was in there instead was a contract for funeral services with "the city municipal ritual service" and a receipt for the deposit.
Already in February, the Municipal Service City Cemeteries Service terminated the contract with the 'black undertakers' because their hearses were not equipped to transport the deceased. Instead of a special car, they used an old Gazelle where the corpses were stored simply on the podium studded with metal. In violation of the rules, the dead were not fastened and were damaged in the process of transportation. In addition, the car was not treated with disinfectants, which could result in spread of serious infections.
The cars the Dondiki used to carry the dead
Violations related to the Dondiki were also found at the cemetery, where they dug graves themselves ignoring the accepted standards: instead of the expected 2 meters deep, the graves were 1-1,5 meters less. They carried out the funeral procession itself from the side entrance instead of the main one, and through the forest and the dump, so that the cemetery workers could not observe the fulfillment of all necessary procedures. According to head of Nizhne-Isetsky cemetery Sergey Komashko, complaints were filed to Rospotrebnadzor and the police about this all, but there is little hope for the situation to change. At least, when they were trying to get rid of the 'black undertakers' at the cemetery for the violations of the law, a support group in uniforms came to their aid in a matter of minutes.
Meanwhile, according to Novy Den’s information, six corrupt officials who had something to do with the funeral business have been recently dismissed from the internal affairs bodies.
The Media Relations Department of the Yekaterinburg MIA remarked that all statements from the citizens about improper actions of ritual services are carefully checked by police officers. Including those where it is stated that the victims received calls from unknown persons who claimed they were the police and indicated which funeral service should be contacted.
As for the above-mentioned "support group in uniforms", according to the MIA’s official comment, it could be an incident that occurred on March 6, 2017, when the police received a report on a conflict at the Nizhne-Isetsky cemetery. The officers of the police department number 13 actually went to the place, but only to maintain order and prevent possible violations.