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Romanian Phishing Suspects Deported to US

According to security officers, two men from Romania, Cornel Tonita (aged 28) and Petru Belbita (aged 25), charged with creating fraudulent phishing websites for tricking online clients of banks and other financial institutions into revealing their login details have been reportedly handed over to the US for trial.

The FBI and prosecutors informed that the case is the result of a grievance about certain fake e-mail posing as a message from Connecticut-based People's Bank.

The e-mail directed recipients to a bogus website which imitated as the bank's site and collected consumers' personal details like full names and addresses along with credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and bank account numbers. Authorities investigating the incident further discovered that the phishing scam had victimized other financial institutions as well, including Comerica Bank, Citibank, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Capitol One, PayPal and eBay.

Moreover, prosecutors with thes US Attorney in New Haven, Connecticut, stated that Belbita belonging to Craiova (Romania) was taken into custody in Montreal (Canada) in January 2009 and was officially deported to the US in the third week of September 2009, reported The Register on September 30, 2009. The other accused Tonita, belonging to Galati (Romania), was taken into custody in Croatia in July and extradited to the US earlier in September 2009.

Both the key defendants, along with five other Romanians, were charged in January 2007 of allegedly participating in an advanced phishing scheme, which caused the financial institutions a loss of at least $150,000. Meanwhile, Ovidiu-Ionut Nicola-Roman one of the accused has admitted to conniving for committing online fraud for which he has been sentenced a 50-month imprisonment.

Besides, Belbita has as well been charged in Los Angeles federal court with taking part in yet another Internet phishing scam. The charge filed in May 2008 stated that he owned software tools for conducting phishing attacks on the customers of Bank of America.

Finally, according to Internet security specialists, during most of the last ten years, Romania continued to be one of the leading sources of phishing. Further, i 2006, the Cyber Division of US FBI sent out 6 FBI agents to Bucharest to collaborate with Romanian National Police.

Related article: Romanian Hacker Haunting ebay

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