Scam Yield Total $112,000 Earnings
Alexey Mineev, a man from Hampton, New Hampshire, has pleaded guilty for his part in a ploy to steal money from brokerage accounts via the use of harmful Trojan horse malware on his quarries' machines. He was able to steal over $112,000 worth of money from his nefarious scam.
Trojans are malicious software that users—typically hackers or embezzlers like Mineev— utilize to commit identity theft and account fraud. They are named after the Trojan horse of ancient Greek mythology fame because they are installed into computers in such a way that they are viewed by the system as harmless. That is, hackers normally disguise these programs as security patches, video codecs, and screensavers.
Scammers are very profitable expanding their scams
According to court records, Mineev built a couple of drop accounts that were then filled with cash pilfered from brokerage and banking accounts in 2007, during the period of July to December. According to Mike Ruocco, deputy to Judge Paul Gardephe of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (the judge who was overseeing the case), Mineev pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering last Wednesday.
Authorities revealed that Mineev and his accomplice would compromise computers with trojans that thieve passwords and account numbers whenever their targets would login to their accounts over the Internet. The police further disclosed that Mineev's co-conspirator, Alexander Bobnev, would message him screenshots of the breached accounts through e-mail, showing him how large the embezzled assets that were being wired into their drop accounts were, along with orders to withdraw the cash at a certain date.
Mineev was tasked to move the money—at times amounting to $10,000—to Russia via services like Western Union and the like in order to avoid detection and place the laundered assets into a safe and protected place outside of their unsuspecting victims' grasp. Security experts admit that once stolen money has already been moved offshore, it's practically impossible to get back.
Nowadays, account fraud is a growing concern for brokerage firms and banks alike. Even though these companies want to offer their clients affordable Internet banking services, they're finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the losses they get from international criminals or even cyber miscreants who want to "test" the security of their online cash processing systems.
Mineev is facing a fine as high as $40,000 and as much as two years in prison on the charge. As part of his plea agreement, he pledged that he would send back the $112,000 he already procured from the profitable cyber swindling scheme.