A federal indictment, unsealed on Feb. 8, charges 36 individuals for their alleged roles in the Infraud Organization, an Internet-based cybercriminal enterprise engaged in the large-scale acquisition, sale, and dissemination of stolen identities, compromised debit and credit cards, personally identifiable information, financial and banking information, computer malware, and other contraband.
Following the return of a nine-count superseding indictment by a Las Vegas, Nevada, grand jury alleging racketeering conspiracy and other crimes, federal, state, local, and international law enforcement authorities arrested 13 defendants from the United States and six countries: Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Kosovo and Serbia.
“Today’s indictment and arrests mark one of the largest cyber-fraud enterprise prosecutions ever undertaken by the Department of Justice,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a statement. “As alleged in the indictment, Infraud operated like a business to facilitate cyber-fraud on a global scale. Its members allegedly caused more than $530 million in actual losses to consumers, businesses, and financial institutions alike—and it is alleged that the losses they intended to cause amounted to more than $2.2 billion.”
According to the Justice Department’s indictment, the Infraud Organization was created in October 2010 by Svyatoslav Bondarenko (also known as Obnon; Rector,” and Helkern), 34, of Ukraine, to promote and grow interest in the Infraud Organization as the premier destination for carding—purchasing retail items with counterfeit or stolen credit card information—on the Internet.
Under the slogan, “In Fraud We Trust,” the organization directed traffic and potential purchasers to the automated vending sites of its members, which served as online conduits to traffic in stolen means of identification, stolen financial and banking information, malware, and other illicit goods. It also provided an escrow service to facilitate illicit digital currency transactions among its members and employed screening protocols that purported to ensure only high-quality vendors of stolen cards, personally identifiable information, and other contraband were permitted to advertise to members.
Infraud members held defined roles within the organization’s hierarchy. “Administrators” managed day-to-day operation of and strategic planning for the organization, 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. Finally, “VIP Members” and “Members” used the Infraud forum to gather information and to facilitate their criminal activities.
As of March 2017, there were 10,901 registered members of the Infraud Organization.
During the course of its seven-year history, the Infraud Organization inflicted approximately $2.2 billion in intended losses, and more than $530 million in actual losses, on a wide swath of financial institutions, merchants, and private individuals, and would have continued to do so for the foreseeable future if left unchecked.
Among the screen namesand aliases used by defendants indicted for their alleged roles in the Infraud Organization’s transnational racketeering conspiracy: RedruMZ; Goldjunge; Socrate; Eclessiastes; Aimless; Guapo; Moviestar; Muad’Dib; Carlitos; and TonyMontan.
The superseding indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Las Vegas Office of Homeland Security Investigations; the Henderson, Nevada, Police Department; the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.
The Justice Department credited a global team of investigators: the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center; Interpol Rome; Interpol Tirana; the Italian National Police (Postal and Communications Police); the Australian Federal Police and the International Crime Cooperation Central Authority, Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department; the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, Regional Security Office at U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania; the City of London Police, DCPCU; the French Ministry of Justice, the Paris Prosecutor, L’Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalité liée aux Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication; the judicial and police authorities of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; the Directorate for Organized Crime Investigation, Sector for Cyber Crime Investigation; the Basic Prosecution Office Pristina, Kosovo; and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kosova, Department for International Legal Cooperation and the Special Prosecution Office for High-Tech Crime of the Republic of Serbia.