Russian authorities detained a man who has built a fake frontier post in the woods near the country's border with Finland and promised to smuggle four South Asian migrant workers into the EU.
The man erected mock border posts and charged the four men more than $10,000 to take them to EU member Finland, media cited the Russian border guard service as saying on Wednesday.
Authorities did not specify the nationalities of the would-be migrants involved in the incident which took place last week.
"The man never planned to carry out his promises," Interfax news agency said.
He installed sham fence posts purportedly marking the state border between Russia and Finland and took the group on a circuitous route by car and on foot before all five were detained.
Video footage making the rounds on the Russian internet showed men bundled up in parkas and hats standing in the darkness among fir trees, their hands up in the air.
On Wednesday, a court in Saint Petersburg fined the hapless South Asian men and ordered their deportation.
The man behind the smuggling scheme hails from Central Asia and could be charged with fraud, media said.
Russia shares borders with a number of EU countries and many people seeking a better life in Europe pass through Russia.