One of its largest-ever takedowns of a global cyber crime ring occurred Wednesday, with 36 people indicted accused of trafficking in stolen identities and causing more than $530 million in losses to consumers, federal officials said.
The cyber crime network, known as “In Fraud,” operated a sophisticated scheme that facilitated the purchase and sale of Social Security numbers, birthdays and passwords that had been stolen from around the world, said officials at the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).
The group has been charged with nine counts ranging from conspiracy to racketeer to computer crimes.
The group worked under the slogan “In Fraud We Trust” and was created in 2010 by Svyatoslav Bondarenko, a 34-year-old Ukrainian, according to the indictment.
In addition to facilitating the sale of stolen information, DoJ said the network provided an escrow account so people could launder their proceeds using digital currencies including Bitcoin, Liberty Reserve, Perfect Money and WebMoney.
Of the 36 people indicted, Justice Department officials said that 13 have been arrested in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Kosovo and Serbia.
The other defendants remain at large and the investigation is still ongoing, said Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Rybicki.
He declined to answer a question on whether Bondarenko was in custody, saying only the defendant is a Ukrainian national and that the investigation is still ongoing
“Today marks a significant step in the battle against transnational cyber crime,” he said.
The charges by the Justice Department — as detailed in the indictment unsealed in Las Vegas— include the Infraud group’s founder, Bondarenko, created a forum on the Dark Web through a server called “Operation Shadow Web.” The forum claimed to be the “premier destination for carding, and to 18 direct traffic and potential purchasers to the automated vending sites of its members, which serve as online instruments that traffic in stolen means of identification, personally-identifying information, stolen financial and banking information and other illicit goods.”
The forum had amassed nearly 11,000 members, according to the indictment.