By KATIE ZEZIMA
FILE – This June 28, 2010 file photo shows the Montclair, N.J. house where “Richard Murphy” and “Cynthia Murphy” were arrested by the FBI. The U.S. Marshals Service says it’s selling the home whose previous owners were arrested in 2010 by the FBI as members of a Russian spy ring, Friday, April 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz, File)
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The beige colonial boasts four bedrooms, an updated kitchen — and the chance to own a slice of Russian spy history.
The U.S. Marshals Service is selling a Montclair, N.J. home whose previous owners were arrested in 2010 by the FBI and accused of being members of a Russian spy ring.
Authorities said the home’s former occupants went by the aliases Richard and Cynthia Murphy and led what appeared to be a banal suburban life. Lawyers for the couple said the man was a stay-at-home father to two daughters and his wife worked for a New York accounting firm and made $135,000 a year.
It was all an elaborate, illegal ruse. The couple, whose real names are Vladimir and Lydia Guryev, was part of a group of deep-cover Russian operatives who had been living in the U.S. for years under the guise of leading seemingly normal lives.
Guryevs and eight others were arrested in June 2010 after a decade-long counterintelligence probe that led to the biggest spy swap since the Cold War. Both pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign country and were deported not long after their arrests.
Prosecutors described a ring that used techniques both elaborate and seemingly out of a Cold War spy movie. The group meshed into American life while engaging in clandestine global travel with fake passports, using invisible ink and engaging in practices so sophisticated the government would not describe them in open court.
It was all toward the goal of infiltrating U.S. policy circles and learning about U.S. diplomacy and weapons information.
In 2009, authorities allege the Guryevs were asked to find out information from people involved in U.S. politics and foreign policy about President Barack Obama’s impending trip to Russia and how he would negotiate with regards to the START nuclear arms treaty, Afghanistan and Iran’s nuclear program.
Authorities said they found $80,000 in crisp $100 bills in the Montclair home, which was paid for by the Russian government.
The home has an unfinished basement and a $444,900 list price with Fast Track Real Estate Co., of nearby Waldwick.