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DOJ Dismantles $530m Transnational Cyberfraud Network

United States Department of JusticeThe United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this week that they have finally indicted and arrested 36 members connected to what they call one of the “largest cyberfraud enterprises ever prosecuted”.

The US government charged 36 members of the internet-based cyberfraud network called the ‘Infraud Organization‘, who was behind the theft of over $530 million from consumers, businesses and financial institutions.

According to the federal indictment that was unsealed this week, 13 of the defendants come from the US while the remaining are based all around the world including United Kingdom, France, Italy, Australia, Serbia and Kosovo.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan said in a statement that they have found the Infraud Organization to be behind what was a global-scale business enterprise that dealt with compromised credit and debit card information, facilitated the acquisition and sale of stolen identities financial and banking information, used computer malware and a indulged in a large scale of contraband and illegal activities. Apart from vending illicit goods and information, the organization also provided an escrow service to facilitate fraudulent digital currency transactions.

In a statement, Dayle Elieson, U.S. Attorney of the District of Nevada said

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is steadfastly committed to protecting America’s national and economic security. Criminals cannot hide behind their computer screens. We are working vigilantly with American and international law enforcement partners to identify and disrupt transnational cybercrime organizations, such as the Infraud Organization

The Infraud Organization was established in 2010 and since then it has used the perceived anonymity of the Internet to evade the law and its members have been working under various pseudonyms and handles. As of March 2017, US authorities believe that there are at least 10,901 registered members of the Infraud Organization and have inflicted approximately $2.2 billion in intended losses.

Currently many of the members of the organization are still at large. Some of them include key members such as Svyatoslav Bondarenko, a 24-year-old Ukrainian who goes by different aliases such as “Obnon”, “Rector” and “Helkern”.

Bondarenko built the organization in October 2010 under the slogan, “In Fraud We Trust”. In 2015, Bondarenko left the group and the leadership was taken over by co-founder Sergey Medvedev. Medvedev and five others are believed to be on the top two tiers of the organization’s leadership. Only Medvedev was included in the 36 members apprehended.

According to the announcement by DoJ, the indictments are still allegations at this point. The arrested members of the group will undergo a court case, which will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad W. McHenry of the District of Nevada and Trial Attorneys Kelly Pearson and Chimaobim Nwachukwu of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.

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