Three Members of an Alleged International Cyber Fraud Ring Extradited from Romania to the United States

May 2, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 2, 2013 released the following:

“Romanian nationals Cristea Mircea, Ion Pieptea, and Nicolae Simion will make their first appearance before United States District Judge Edward R. Korman later today following their extradition to the United States from Romania. The defendants are charged with participating in a sophisticated multi-million-dollar cyber fraud scheme that targeted consumers on U.S.-based Internet marketplace websites such as eBay.com. Their extradition followed a coordinated international takedown in December 2012, during which law enforcement officials in Romania, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Canada, acting at the request of the United States, arrested six Romanian nationals, including Mircea, Pieptea and Simion. The Bucharest Appeals Court ordered the extraditions of Mircea, Pieptea, and Simion on February 2, 2013. The defendants were subsequently transported to the Eastern District of New York and arraigned on March 27, 2013.

The extraditions were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George C. Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office

As alleged in the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators saturated Internet marketplace websites, such as eBay.com, Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, and CycleTrader.com, with detailed advertisements for cars, motorcycles, boats, and other high-value items generally priced in the $10,000 to $45,000 range. Unbeknownst to the buyers, however, the merchandise did not exist. The so-called sellers corresponded with the victim buyers by e-mail, sending fraudulent certificates of title and other information designed to lure the victims into parting with their money. Sometimes, they pretended to sell cars from non-existent auto dealerships in the United States and even created phony websites for these fictitious dealerships.

The indictment further describes how, after the purported sellers reached an agreement with the victim buyers, they would often e-mail them invoices purporting to be from Amazon Payments, PayPal, or other online payment services, with wire transfer instructions. However, these invoices were also fraudulent—the members of the conspiracy used counterfeit service marks in designing the invoices so that they would appear identical to communications from legitimate payment services. The fraudulent invoices directed the buyers to send money to American bank accounts that had been opened by foreign nationals in the United States, known as “arrows.” Finally, the arrows would collect the illicit proceeds and send them to the defendants in Europe by wire transfer and other methods. For example, the arrows forwarded defendant Pieptea $18,000 cash in fraud proceeds hidden inside hollowed-out audio speakers.

According to court filings, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly defrauded their victims of at least $2 million during the course of the conspiracy. Notwithstanding the scope of the fraud, however, one of the co-conspirators boasted, in a recorded conversation, that “criminals will not be extradited from Romania to the U.S.A….[I]t will never happen.”

Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to commit substantives offenses against the United States, wire fraud, and money laundering. The defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each count of conviction.

“These three defendants allegedly reached across the globe to defraud Americans, pretending to be legitimate online vendors and payment providers. In reality, they were con men with a computer. The defendants’ extraditions to the United States should make clear that our efforts to protect Internet consumers do not stop at our borders,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Thanks to our strong international partnerships, the notion that cybercriminals will never be extradited to the United States is merely a criminal’s fantasy.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the FBI for its assistance.

The Romanian government, particularly the Ministry of Justice, the Romanian Internal Intelligence Service, and the Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, provided significant assistance and support during the investigation, arrest, and extradition of the defendants. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs worked with its counterparts in Romania to effect the extraditions, and the U.S. Marshals Service coordinated and transported the defendants to the United States.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Cristina Posa, Nadia Shihata, and Claire Kedeshian and Trial Attorney Carol Sipperly of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section.

The charges against the defendants are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defendants:
Cristea Mircea, age 30, Romania
Ion Pieptea, age 36, Romania
Nicolae Simion, age 37, Romania”

Federal Wire Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. 1343

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Romania here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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“International fugitive Richard Chichakli requests extradition to US to face charges linking him to Russian arms dealer”

April 4, 2013

Herald Sun on April 4, 2013 released the following:

Emily Portelli From: Herald Sun

“INTERNATIONAL fugitive Richard Chichakli, arrested in Melbourne after applying to become a protective services officer, has asked to be sent back to the US to face charges linking him to a Russian arms dealer.

“I consent to the extradition and ask the court to kindly send me home to the United States as soon as possible,” the Syrian-born US citizen said today via video link at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

“I thank Australia for its hospitality, I just need to go home.”

The alleged associate of war criminal Viktor Bout arrived in Australia in June 2010 on a false Syrian passport and left and returned to Australia six times before his arrest in January.

The 53-year-old was living in Melbourne’s north and was arrested after his fingerprints were matched to an Interpol alert when he applied for a job as a PSO.

He had already passed Victoria Police psychological and fitness screening.

The US sought to extradite Mr Chichakli to New York to face charges relating to his alleged conspiracy with Bout to purchase planes to transport arms to international conflict zones.

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg told Mr Chichakli he was facing charges of conspiracy to violate the International Economic Emergency Powers Act, conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six wire fraud offences.

“Of course I deny all of them but that is for a United States court to try,” Mr Chichakli said.

“I am ready for extradition, sir.”

Mr Rozencwajg told him he would send a letter this afternoon to the Attorney-General, who would then likely order his surrender to the US.

Bout, who is currently serving 25 years on US terror charges, inspired the character played by Nicholas Cage in 2005 war film Lord of War.

It is alleged the pair provided arms to former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who was last year sentenced to 50 years’ jail for war crimes.

Mr Chichakli had been on the run from American authorities since 2005.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Australia here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

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Alleged International Credit Card Trafficker BadB Extradited from France to the United States

June 18, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 15, 2012 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Vladislav Anatolievich Horohorin, aka “BadB,” of Moscow, an alleged international credit card trafficker thought to be one of the most prolific sellers of stolen credit card data, has been extradited from France to the United States to face criminal charges filed in the District of Columbia and in the Northern District of Georgia.

The extradition was announced today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. for the District of Columbia, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia, U.S. Secret Service (USSS) Assistant Director for Investigations David J. O’Connor, and Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.

Horohorin, 27, made his first appearance before U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in the District of Columbia yesterday. He was extradited to the United States on June 6, 2012, and was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay in the District of Columbia on June 7, 2012. He was ordered detained pending trial.

“According to the indictment, Mr. Horohorin was one of the most notorious credit card traffickers in the world, transacting in stolen credit information across the globe,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Due to our strong relationships with our international law enforcement partners, we secured his extradition to the United States, where he now faces multiple criminal counts in two separate indictments. We will continue to do everything we can to bring cyber criminals to justice, including those who operate beyond our borders.”

“Our indictment alleges that this young man used his technological savvy to profit by selling stolen credit card information over the Internet on a massive scale,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We are pleased that he has been extradited to the United States to face these criminal charges in a District of Columbia courtroom. This prosecution demonstrates that those who try to rip off Americans from behind a computer screen across an ocean will not escape American justice.”

“The Secret Service is committed to identifying and apprehending those individuals that continue to attack American financial institutions, and we will continue to work through our international and domestic law enforcement partners in order to accomplish this,” said USSS Assistant Director O’Connor.

“International cyber criminals who target American citizens and businesses often believe they are untouchable because they are overseas,” said U.S. Attorney Yates. “But as this case demonstrates, we will work relentlessly with our law enforcement partners around the world to charge, find, and bring those criminals to justice.”

“Horohorin’s extradition to the United States demonstrates the FBI’s expertise in conducting long-term investigations into complex criminal computer intrusions, resulting in bringing the most egregious cyber criminals to justice, even from foreign shores,” said Special Agent in Charge Lamkin. “The combined efforts of law enforcement agencies to include our international partners around the world will ensure this trend continues.”

Horohorin was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia in November 2009 on charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. In a separate investigation, a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia returned a superseding indictment against Horohorin in August 2010, charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and access device fraud. In August 2010, French law enforcement authorities, working with the U.S. Secret Service, identified Horohorin in Nice, France, and arrested him as he was attempting to board a flight to return to Moscow.

According to the indictment filed in the District of Columbia, Horohorin was the subject of an undercover investigation by USSS agents. Horohorin, who is a citizen of Israel, Russia, and Ukraine, allegedly used online criminal forums such as “CarderPlanet” and “carder.su” to sell stolen credit card information, known as “dumps,” to online purchasers around the world. According to the indictment, Horohorin, using the online name “BadB,” advertised the availability of stolen credit card information through these web forums and directed purchasers to create accounts at “dumps.name,” a fully-automated dumps vending website operated by Horohorin and hosted outside the United States. The website was designed to assist in the exchange of funds for the stolen credit card information. Horohorin allegedly directed buyers to fund their “dumps.name” accounts using funds transferred by services including “Webmoney,” an online currency service hosted in Russia. The purchaser would then access the “dumps.name” website and select the desired stolen credit card data. Using an online undercover identity, USSS agents negotiated the sale of numerous stolen credit card dumps.

According to the indictment filed in the Northern District of Georgia, Horohorin was one of the lead cashers in an elaborate scheme in which 44 counterfeit payroll debit cards were used to withdraw more than $9 million from over 2,100 ATMs in at least 280 cities worldwide in a span of less than 12 hours. Computer hackers broke into a credit card processor located in the Atlanta area, stole debit card account numbers, and raised the balances and withdrawal limits on those accounts while distributing the account numbers and PINs to lead cashers, like Hororhorin, around the world.

Horohorin faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count of access device fraud, 20 years in prison for each count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, and a statutory consecutive penalty of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft count.

The charges in the indictments are merely allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The District of Columbia case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Carol Sipperly, Ethan Arenson and Corbin Weiss of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Weiss also serves as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia case is being investigated by USSS. Key assistance was provided by the French Police Nationale Aux Frontiers and the Netherlands Police Agency National Crime Squad High Tech Crime Unit. The FBI Atlanta Field Office provided information helpful to the investigation.

The Northern District of Georgia case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nick Oldham and Lawrence R. Sommerfeld and Trial Attorney Sipperly of CCIPS. The Atlanta case is being investigated by the FBI. Assistance was provided by numerous law enforcement partners. U.S. Secret Service provided information helpful to the investigation.

The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided invaluable assistance.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and France here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email:


U.S. Extradites Man from Czech Republic; Alleged Creator of International Identity Theft Website

September 22, 2010

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the extradition of Dmitry M. Naskovets—creator and operator of CallService.biz, an online business that allegedly assisted over 2,000 identity thieves in over 5,000 instances of fraud—from the Czech Republic on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Naskovets, 26, consented to extradition and arrived in the Southern District of New York late Friday. He was presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger.

According to the indictment filed in Manhattan federal court:

Allegedly, in June 2007, Naskovets, a Belarusian national, and coconspirator Sergey Semashko, also a Belarusian national who is charged by the Belarusians, created CallService.biz (the “website”), an online business that allegedly intended to assist identity thieves in exploiting stolen financial information, such as credit card and debit card numbers. Supposedly the website was, among other things, designed to counteract security measures put in place by financial institutions. These security measures, for example, require persons seeking to make transfers or withdrawals from accounts, or to conduct other financial transactions to verify by telephone certain information associated with the account. Businesses that accept online or telephone purchases by credit card have similar security measures. Representatives at such financial institutions and businesses are trained to make sure that persons purporting over the telephone to be account holders appear to fit the account holder’s profile. For example, if an account holder is an American female, the screener is supposed to make sure that the caller speaks English, and does in fact sound like a female.

Through the website, Naskovets and Semashko, in exchange for a fee, allegedly provided the services of English- and German-speaking individuals to persons who had stolen account and biographical information to beat the above-described security screening processes. Allegedly, those English and German speakers would, among other things, pose as authorized account holders and place telephone calls to financial institutions and other businesses to conduct or confirm fraudulent withdrawals, transactions, or other account activity on behalf of the website users who were identity thieves. Using information provided by the identity thieves over the website, which was hosted on a computer in Lithuania, the fraudulent callers would, among other things, confirm unauthorized withdrawals or transfers from bank accounts, unblock accounts, or change the address or phone number associated with an account so that it could be accessed by the identity thieves.

The website allegedly posted advertisements for its services on other websites used by identity thieves, including CardingWorld.cc, which was operated by Semashko. The advertisements boasted that the website had “over 2090 people working with” it and had “done over 5400 confirmation calls” to banks, referencing calls to defeat security screening procedures and confirm or conduct fraudulent transactions, as described above.

Naskovets was arrested by Czech enforcement authorities on April 15, 2010, at the request of the United States. Also on April 15, 2010, in a joint operation, Belarusian law enforcement authorities arrested Semashko in Belarus and Lithuanian law enforcement authorities seized the computers on which the website was hosted. Belarusian authorities also arrested additional co-conspirators for related criminal conduct. In addition, the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) simultaneously seized the website domain name pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, to whom the criminal case is also assigned.

The indictment charges Naskovets with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted on all three counts, Naskovets faces a maximum sentence of 39 and one-half years in prison.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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