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US Indicts Russian Ringleader for Hacking Rich Americans’ Identities

Authorities in the U.S. government arrested five individuals who allegedly belonged to an identity theft gang and charged them for targeting attacks on billionaires listed in the Forbes' ranking of 400 wealthiest Americans.

Prosecutors named some of the targets including Anthony Pritzker, president of Trans Union Credit, who occupied the 160th position on the 2006 list of Forbes magazine. Pritzker owned a wealth of $2 Billion. Other targets were Texas billionaires Charles J. Wyly Jr. and his brother Samuel who was at number 354.

Manhattan District Attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, declared that four of the defendants arrested on August 16, 2007 were under police custody in Texas, Michigan, Kentucky and Florida. They were accused of stealing $1.5 Million from their victims and for attempting another theft of $10.7 Million from the bank accounts of other victims. Information Week reported this on August 17, 2007.

The 24-year-old Russian ringleader, Klopov, dug at the Internet to collect the personal identifying details of his victims. The office of Manhattan District Attorney reported about Klopov's arrest that happened when he arrived in New York in May 2007 to acquire gold worth $7 Million that was allegedly bought from the stolen money.

Prosecutors indicted Klopov of hiring co-conspirators in the U.S. from his Moscow home to assist him in stealing personal identities of rich residents of Oregon, Texas and California who possessed large amounts of credit on home equity.

Klopov used several cyber identities like "trancer", "Kirill", "rayescrowchk", "239855403", "326193078", "jamesbruesith", "topfinancegroup", "universalescrow", and "stayintheshadows" to communicate with his accomplices via instant messaging or e-mail. This made it hard for the law enforcement to identify and spot him. So an investigation was started.

The office of District Attorney reported that according to the undercover investigation, Klopov created research dossiers on his computer regarding his victims and also hired the services of private investigators to supply him with extra information about his potential victims. He recruited men to help him in the scheme by using job-hunting sites like CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com. He paid them from the credit card accounts of the stolen numbers.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

» SPAMfighter News - 05-09-2007

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