Massive Cybercrime Indictment: 17 People, 173 Counts
Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau has announced the indictment and arraignment of 17 people and one company on cybercrime, identity theft, and global trafficking in stolen credit card numbers.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office said in a statement that the 173-count indictment charges that from 2001 through 2007, the defendants participated in a multi-national, internet-based criminal enterprise -- the "Western Express Cybercrime Group” – dedicated to trafficking in stolen credit card numbers and other personal identifiers. The group realized millions in illicit profits from the sale and fraudulent use of this personal data, with some members of the enterprise laundering these profits in a variety of high-tech ways.
The indictment alleges defendants created and participated in a computerized marketplace for the global trafficking of stolen credit card numbers and other stolen personal identifying information. That marketplace enabled the defendants to conduct anonymous transactions, via the internet and by other means, using sophisticated payment schemes. The payment schemes were intended to ensure that the participants in the transactions would be impossible to identify, and that the proceeds of their criminal activity could not be traced.
Those defendants provided financial services and conducted financial transactions for other participants in the criminal enterprise in order to move funds and launder the proceeds of criminal activity. The “money movers” relied on anonymous digital currencies, such as Egold and Webmoney, to buy, sell, and launder the proceeds of criminal transactions, and conducted their business online, using websites, instant messaging, and email. Some of the defendants charged in the indictment played more than one role.
Those involved in the Western Express Cybercrime Group are said to have interacted and communicated through “carding” websites – that is, websites devoted to trafficking in stolen credit card and personal identifying information. They relied on the use of nicknames, false identities, anonymous instant messenger accounts, anonymous email accounts, and anonymous digital currency accounts to conceal the existence and purpose of the criminal enterprise, to avoid detection by law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and to maintain their anonymity.
The indictment further alleges that Western Express Cybercrime Group is responsible for over $4 million worth of identified credit card fraud, and trafficked in well over 95,000 stolen credit card numbers. These figures reflect the levels of fraud and stolen credit numbers which have been identified thus far.
Based on this statement from the D.A., conviction would send these people away for a long time.
That's because, according to this statement:
All defendants are charged with Enterprise Corruption, a class B felony punishable by up to twenty-five years in jail. Each defendant is also charged with at least three additional felony counts, depending upon his role within the criminal enterprise.
Related Tags: stolen credit, trafficking stolen, stolen, indictment, numbers, trafficking
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