Richard Pinedo might be one of the lesser-known figures caught up in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation but the California man played an instrumental role in a Russian troll factory's online influence campaign during the 2016 election by unwittingly selling bank accounts to Russians.
The Accused: Between 2014 through December 2017, Pinedo ran an online serviced called "Auction Essistance," through which obtained and sold banks fake and stolen bank accounts on the internet.
The Formal Charges: In February 2018, Pinedo pleaded guilty to one count of identity fraud and in October that year was sentenced to serve six months in prison, followed by six months of home confinement and 100 hours of community service.
The Alleged Crime: According to the indictment, Pinedo obtained thousands of bank accounts on the internet by either registering accounts in his own name or by purchasing stolen accounts in other people's names and sold several of them to Russians.
The account numbers sold to Russians ended up at the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based firm accused of attempting to interfere with the U.S. political system and American society by using fake personas online to stoke social and political divides in the U.S. on social media platforms.
The response: At the time of Pinedo's guilty plea, Pinedo's attorney Jeremy Lesseman said in a statement to ABC News that Pinedo accepts full responsibility for selling bank information but that his client had "absolutely no knowledge of the identities and motivations of any of the purchasers of the information he provided." Lesseman added Pinedo had no knowledge or understanding that Pinedo's actions "assisted any individuals, including foreign nationals, from interfering in the American presidential election."