Eight alleged members of a cybercrime, money laundering and identity theft ring have been charged with a scheme to use information stolen from customer accounts at more than a dozen banks, brokerage firms, payroll processing companies and government agencies in an effort to steal at least $15 million.
Oleksiy Sharapka, 33, of Kiev, Ukraine, allegedly directed the conspiracy, while the other seven charged are Leonid Yanovitsky, 38, also of Kiev; Oleg Pidtergerya, 49, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Robert Dubuc, 40, of Malden, Mass.; Andrey Yarmolitskiy, 41, of Atlanta, Ga.; Richard Gundersen, 46, of Brookly; Lamar Taylor, 37, of Salem, Mass.; and Ilya Ostapyuk, 31, of Brooklyn.
Pidtergerya, Ostapyuk and Dubuc were arrested yesterday morning at their homes, while Yarmolitskiy was arrested on June 11 when he arrived at New York's JFK Airport on an overseas flight.
Taylor, Gundersen, Sharapka and Yanovitsky remain at large.
All eight have been charged together with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit identity theft.
The group allegedly hacked into the computer networks of more than a dozen financial institutions, then transferred money from customer accounts to bank accounts and debit cards they controlled, before withdrawing the money from ATMs and through fraudulent purchases. Some of the debit cards were in the names of U.S. residents whose identities had been stolen as part of the scheme.
"Today's charges and arrests take out key members of the organization, including leaders of crews in three states that used those stolen identities to 'cash out' hacked accounts in a series of internationally coordinated modern-day bank robberies," New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement. "We will continue to pursue our investigation into this scheme and our fight against the rising threat of criminals for whom computers are the weapon of choice."