Russian BTC scammer pleads guilty in largest US cyber fraud case

One of the key figures in an international cybercrime ring has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in the largest-ever cyber fraud case in the U.S.  The Russian national was part of an operation that led to over $2.2 billion in losses to its victims, U.S. authorities said.

Sergey Medvedev agreed to the guilty plea in the U.S. District Court of Nevada, the Department of Justice (DoJ) revealed. The 33-year-old was a critical member of Infraud Organization, an online crime ring engaging in financial fraud and identity theft.

Infraud launched in 2010, and until it was brought down in February 2018, it had grown to become one of the largest online fraud organizations. Operating under the motto ‘In Fraud We Trust’, the members of the ring engaged in bank and payment card fraud, acting as one of the largest markets for stolen credit card information.

According to the DoJ, Infraud directly stole $568 million from their victims, with the indirect losses amounting to more than $2.2 billion. The platform facilitated the sale of over 4 million compromised card numbers from leading companies including Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Discover, “in addition to countless financial institutions located in the United States.”

The DoJ alleged that Medvedev founded Infraud along with Svyatoslav Bondarenko, a Ukrainian who is his fellow co-defendant. In addition to being one of the most senior administrators on the Infraud platform, he was in charge of the escrow service for the members.

Medvedev also operated a digital currency exchange service which the members used to launder money.

The DoJ alleged that he made over $1 million after facilitating the payments, maintaining the escrow and overseeing the advertisements.

Infraud was one of the best-run online criminal organizations in the world. The administrators would screen the stolen data to ensure it was genuine and approve new members. They also appointed moderators who would supervise various segments depending on their area of expertise. Infraud even had a VIP tier for its early members.

After wreaking havoc for close to a decade, the crime ring was finally brought to a stop through the coordinated efforts of authorities in Australia, France, the U.S., the U.K., Kosovo, Serbia and Italy. The DoJ went on to charge 36 individuals for transnational racketeering conspiracy.

Medvedev was arrested by police in Bangkok, Thailand, in February 2018. According to local reports, he had been residing in the country with his wife. The local police alleged that at the time of his arrest, he was in possession of over 100,000 BTC, now worth over $900 million.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.