In the wake of the Target breach, U.S. authorities last week said they extradited a Ukrainian man they say helped develop a stolen card data market.
U.S. Secret Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced that Sergei Litvinenko was extradited from Croatia last month to answer charges that allege he was a member of an online criminal organization known as Carder.su operating under the alias “Dorbik.” During an initial court appearance, U.S. Magistrate Judge Magistrate Judge Nancy Koope ordered Litvinenko held without bond, authorities reported Thursday.
Authorities charged members of the ring, known as carders, were involved in large-scale trafficking of compromised data and counterfeit credit cards, as well as money laundering, narcotics trafficking and various types of computer crimes.
Allegedly, the group operated an Internet web portal, called a forum, where members could purchase the illicitly obtained data and share knowledge of various fraud schemes. They allegedly also created a second forum to vet new members.
Officials placed the forums in former Soviet bloc countries where the upper echelon members of the organization resided. It was estimated that, in July 2011, there were more than 5,500 members.
Authorities determined members of the organization had different roles, including moderators who directed other members in carrying out activities; reviewers who examined and tested products, services, and contraband; vendors who advertised and sold products, services and contraband; and, the members themselves. Members were required to successfully complete a number of security features designed to protect the organization from infiltration by law enforcement or members of rival criminal organizations.
Officials said Litvinenko’s extradition is the result of close coordination among ICE Homeland Security Investigation's attaché office in Vienna, Austria; the U.S. Secret Service attaché office in Rome; the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service; the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs; Interpol; the Croatian Ministries of Justice and the Interior; and the Croatian State Prosecutor’s Office.
Originally arrested by Croatian authorities in August 2012 based upon the U.S. charges, a Croatian higher court cleared the way for Litvinenko’s extradition last month, the authorities said.
“We owe a tremendous debt to the Croatian authorities for the extraordinary assistance they provided in this case,” said HSI Executive Associate Director James Dinkins. “It’s another powerful reminder that we won’t allow our borders to be barriers to bringing international fugitives to justice.”
“This operation demonstrates there is no such thing as anonymity in the cyber world. Our success in this operation and other similar investigations is a result of our close work with our network of law enforcement partners,” said Secret Service Assistant Director Paul Morrissey of the Office of Investigations.