A Russian-born U.S. citizen will be doing just over 9 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to running a sophisticated cybercrime operation.
Alexander Tverdokhlebov, 29, has been living in Los Angeles. He came to the U.S. from Russia in 2007 and later obtained U.S. citizenship.
He pleaded guilty to running a network that involved botnets, stolen financial data and money laundering.
Tverdokhlebov was an active member on several Russian-speaking cybercrime forums since at least 2008, officials said. He is said to have offered various services, including for laundering illegal proceeds.
The man also operated botnets that allowed cybercriminals to steal payment cards and other data. Investigators said Tverdokhlebov boasted about possessing 40,000 credit card numbers and controlling as many as half a million computers between 2009 and 2013.
Tverdokhlebov sold the stolen card data to individuals who used it to make fraudulent purchases or withdrawals from the victims’ accounts, officials said.
He also recruited Russian students visiting the U.S. to receive money from victims and then forward it to Tverdokhlebov and his accomplices, law enforcement officials said.
Authorities believe Tverdokhlebov’s activities resulted in losses between $9.5 and $25 million. When he was arrested, investigators found $272,000 in $100 bills distributed across several safety deposit boxes in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. They also seized Bitcoin and other assets valued at $5 million.
Tverdokhlebov pleaded guilty to wire fraud in late March and he just got a sentence of 110 months in prison.
As part of the sentencing, the court also ordered the defendant to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, with conditions of release that will include monitoring of the defendant’s computer use.