true crime

A New York woman tried to kill her beautician with poisoned cheesecake. Then she tried to steal her identity.

It seemed like a routine beauty appointment between friends, albeit an "emergency" one. Brooklyn woman Viktoria Nasyrova had a trip to Mexico booked, and she needed her Queens-based friend and beautician, Olga Tsvyk, to urgently fix her eyelashes before she went. 

But it was Tsvyk's day off - surely Nasyrova could find someone else for the appointment? No, the desperate woman pleaded with the beautician, and eventually turned up at her house with three pieces of cheesecake as a "thank you" gesture for fitting her in.

 The beautician enjoyed some of the cake - and 20 minutes later, an ill feeling came over her. She vomited, passed out, and Russian-born Nasyrova proceeded to ransack her room, stealing her passport, money and other belongings. 

Watch: Viktoria Nasyrova tells CBS News "I'm not a killer". Post continues below. 

Video via CBS News.

Tsvyk would soon find out that the cheesecake had been laced with Phenazepam, a powerful tranquilizer primarily found in Russia that 47-year-old Nasyrova had acquired in an attempt to kill her lookalike friend, and possibly steal her identity.

The police get involved

The frightening ordeal in August 2016 left Tsvyk hospitalised for three days, after her neighbour alerted an ambulance to the worrying scene at her Forest Hills Home. Tsvyk was passed out in bed, wearing only lingerie, and pills were strewn all across the room. For all intents and purposes, it looked like an attempted suicide scene. 


Bizarrely, the heater in the room was set to high, in the midst of a New York summer. 

The worried neighbour later told police what he'd seen earlier that day: a woman bringing Tsvyk some chicken soup, before cleaning the bowl and rushing off. 

NYPD Detective Kevin Rodgers answered the call for help and was immediately suspicious. He managed to recover the cheesecake container complete with some crumbs, and sent it off for testing. 

It was Detective Rodgers who pieced together just how dangerous Nasyrova was. After her DNA was found on the container and he found out the drug that had been used, Rodgers also learnt that Phenazepam's effects could be heightened in a hotter environment - hence the strange heating situation at Tsvyk's home that day. 

The investigation trail eventually led to Nasyrova's wherebouts - and her arrest - on March 20, 2017. A search of her apartment uncovered Tsvyk's ring, handbags and pieces of identification. While poring over the evidence photos, Rodgers noticed that with their dark hair and similar skin tones, Tsvyk and Nasyrova shared a resemblance, and this could have been a murder attempt to steal an identity. 

She's done the poison trick before...

When Tsvyk returned to work, a client told her a similarly eerie story of another person who had been poisoned just months earlier. 


Ruben Borukhov testified in court that Nasyrova, a former dominatrix, drugged him during a date, and he woke to find his watch missing and $2,600 charged on his American Express. The Queens business owner had matched with her on a Russian dating site, and when they met for dinner, she cooked him a piece of fish. He passed out soon after taking a bite, and was still out of it two days later. 

A dark past in Russia.

Nadia Ford and her mother, Alla Alekseenko. Image: Nadia Ford.

Back in her homeland, Nasyrova is also a wanted woman, accused of killing and burning the body of her Russian neighbour, Alla Alekseenko, in 2014 before she fled to the Big Apple.


Alekseenko's daughter, Nadia Ford, also lives in New York, and has been relentlessly on the hunt for her mother's killer - who she strongly believes is Nasyrova. 

Interpol issued a "Red Notice" internationally to track her down, but Nasyrova couldn't be found.

"Viktoria took everything from me. My family, my life, my mom, my everything," she told CBS News in 2017.

That year, Ford took matters into her own hands and hired top private investigator Herman Weisberg to find Nasyrova. 

A month later, he found her. Amazingly, he'd used her Facebook selfies as clues, looking at the reflections in her mirrored sunglasses to ascertain her car model and even apartment building in Sheepshead Bay, a Russian neighbourhood in Brooklyn. Weisberg's exceptional investigative work led police to Nasyrova. 

Nasyrova's day in court

It took almost six years for Nasyrova to face the Queens Supreme Court, and in February this year, jurors took a week and a half to find her guilty of what Justice Kenneth Holder called a "diabolical" scheme.

Doctors revealed that Tsvyk had been close to suffering a heart attack after the sinister poisoning attempt. The beautician also spoke of her ongoing trauma, which left her distrustful of people, unable to sleep and terrified that Nasyrova "would come back and finish what she started".

“For her, it was an easy thing to try and take the life of another person," Tsvyk told the court.


Nasyrova's attorney, Jose Nieves, pleaded for leniency. He told the judge, and courtroom, that his client has a young son with a "debilitating disease" and who needs a bone marrow transplant.

But at her sentencing in April, Nasyrova did herself no favours, the unrepentant woman yelling "F**k you!" in the judge's direction when her 21-year punishment was handed down. 

'She's a dangerous, scary person'

Nasyrova's selfies gave her away. Image: Facebook.

To this day, beautician Tsvyk still lives in fear of her former friend. 

"She's a very dangerous person, a scary person," Tsvyk told The Post. "She is a manipulator and a liar... she is capable of anything."


"I hope they don't let her out early, lest she come after me."

From her jail cell in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Nasyrova plays down her "gangster" reputation, and maintains she didn't commit the dark crimes she's been accused of. She's currently appealing the attempted murder conviction. 

"I didn't do anything," she told The Post. "I never robbed anyone. I never killed anyone. I never tried to kill anyone. They sentenced me to 21 years for a crime I did not commit."

Nasyrova has spoken about her newfound passion for art and t-shirt making, items that she sells from jail. "I get an enormous amount of pleasure from seeing people's faces when I give them what they ordered from me," she admits. "I had no idea I can draw, but I am good."

But in the same breath, Nasyrova displays some harsher traits - admitting to her "anger issues" and recounting a time she pummelled another inmate. "Once I got into a fight, and I was so angry that I kept beating her, and she was covered in blood," Nasyrova revealed. "Then I realised that if I don't stop, I am going to seriously maim her. So I stopped."

Still, she denies being what authorities say she is. "I'm not gangster, I'm not a criminal," she says, adding that she simply demands respect. 

When Nasyrova has served her time in New York, she will face deportation, and a potential trial in Russia for the murder of Alekseenko.

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