Brooklyn man convicted of kidnapping, extortion related to drivers’ license scam

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Surveillance footage of Akmal Narzikulov, who was convicted on charges of kidnapping, extortion, and more July 7.
US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District

A Brooklyn man has been convicted of kidnapping and extortion in relation to a commercial drivers’ license scam he ran with co-conspirators, officials announced July 7.

Akmal Narzikulov, 37, was convicted on all eight counts he was on trial for, including kidnapping, extortion, witness tampering, threatening a co-conspirator at gunpoint, and conspiracy. The verdict was handed down by a jury in Brooklyn federal court, in a trial presided over by District Court Judge Brian Cogan.

“With the defendant’s conviction, he is held accountable for a long list of crimes, including conspiring to engage in a brazen cheating scheme, kidnapping, extortion, witness tampering and threatening a co-conspirator at gunpoint,” Acting US Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said in a statement. “I commend our prosecutors for laying out the detailed road map that led to today’s verdict and for bringing justice to the individuals who were harmed by the defendant’s greed and senseless violence.”

Narzikulov, along with co-defendant Sherzod Mukumov and another conspirator who has not been apprehended, kidnapped a man in March 2019 who had been part of the scheme but wanted out, and had not completed the work he was expected to in exchange for an $800 advance. Surveillance video showed the brutes tasing their erstwhile pal and dragging him into a car. The victim allegedly woke up in a parking garage, and the trio stole his green card, watch, and cell phone. They ordered him to pay them $5,000 and several unpaid parking tickets. After driving him to a bank on Kings Highway and writing a check to cover part of the debt, the victim reported the incident to authorities.

On the same night, Narzikulov allegedly threatened another co-conspirator with a gun in an extortion effort.

He also attempted to bribe prosecution witnesses to travel overseas until his trial was over, according to officials. He was arrested by the FBI in April 2019, and was found with a handgun, $300,000 cash, and numerous fake IDs.

Narzikulov and his cronies had devised an elaborate scheme to help paying clients cheat on commercial drivers’ license tests administered by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. The nogoodniks would transmit correct answers to test-takers to earbuds to cell phones they snuck into the test. The test-takers were wearing headphones as they took the test.

In one example, a test-taker was given a shirt with a small hole in it, as well as a smartphone with the camera positioned at the hole so Narzikulov and co could see the answers and feed them to applicants.

Several of Narzikulov’s co-conspirators had already pled guilty at various points over the past two years. Mukumov pled guilty to kidnapping in November 2019, and is awaiting sentencing.