San Francisco: An Australian man is among 36 people charged by United States authorities in one of the largest global cyberfraud takedowns in history.
A federal indictment was unsealed in Las Vegas on Thursday charging 36 people for their alleged roles in the Infraud Organisation, an Internet-based cyberfraud service that dealt in stolen credit cards and passwords and engaged in bank fraud and ID theft.
Thirteen defendants are from the US and others are from the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Kosovo and Serbia.
One Australian man, 27-year-old Edgar Andres Viloria Rojas, is among those charged. He went by the online aliases Guapo, Guapo1988 and Onlyshop, the US Department of Justice said.
According to the indictment, the Infraud Organisation was created in October 2010 by Svyatoslav Bondarenko, a 34-year-old Ukrainian hacker who also went by the names Obnon, Rector and Helkern.
In seven years, it scammed $US530 million ($677 million) in actual losses and about $US2.2 billion in intended losses on financial institutions, merchants, and private individuals, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.
Bondarenko built up Infraud Organisation to be the premier destination for ‘carding’ or purchasing retail items online with counterfeit or stolen credit card information.
Under the slogan “In Fraud We Trust,” the organisation directed potential customers to automated stores, owned by members, that sold stolen property.
It also sold and shared computer malware and provided a third-party service to facilitate illicit digital currency transactions among members.
It had forums and chat rooms for members to discuss illegal activities.
According to the indictment, Infraud members held defined roles within the organisation’s hierarchy.
- ‘Administrators’ managed day-to-day operations and strategic planning, approved and monitored membership, and meted out punishments and rewards to members.
- ‘Super Moderators’ oversaw and administered specific subject-matter areas within their expertise.
- ‘Moderators’ moderated one or two specific sub-forums within their areas of subject-matter expertise.
- ‘Vendors’ sold illicit products and services to Infraud members.
- ‘VIP Members’ and ‘members’ used the Infraud forum to gather information and to facilitate criminal activities.
Rojas allegedly became a member of Infraud in September 2011 and was promoted to VIP Member status by Bondarenko shortly after joining, the indictment said.
He allegedly purchased a compromised credit card from co-accused Liridon Musliu on October 26, 2013.
The 36 co-accuseds, including alleged mastermind Bondarenko, have been charged with conspiracy to engage in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organisation.
As of March 2017, there were 10,901 registered members of the Infraud Organisation.
Acting US Assistant Attorney-General John P. Cronan said the arrests mark “one of the largest cyberfraud enterprise prosecutions ever undertaken by the Department of Justice”.
The Australian Federal Police and Australian Attorney-General’s Department, who were involved in the operation, have been contacted for comment.
More to come