Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Identity Thieves Busted in Major Cases

Texas prepares to sentence thief who stole over 1,000 identities; FBI makes second arrest in Russian online crime ring

Law enforcement agencies cracked a couple of major identity theft cases this past week, busting suspects allegedly responsible for hundreds of attacks on consumers and businesses.

Marten Casarez, 22, was facing up to 20 years in prison as he listened to testimony from nine of his victims at a sentencing hearing in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday. Casarez took the identities of more than 1,000 people from 33 states and obtained at least $334,000 using credit cards and bank account numbers in 2004 and 2005, according to prosecutors.

Casarez pleaded guilty in nine cases, but four of the charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement. The other five felony charges could land Casarez in jail for up to 20 years, according to a newspaper account of the hearing. Sentencing is expected later this week.

In some of his schemes, Casarez -- who never even graduated high school -- impersonated ministers, doctors, lawyers, police officers, and private investigators, prosecutors said. He once passed himself off as Texas Department of Public Safety detective Michael Leach, and in another memorable case obtained a $240,000 line of credit -- under a woman's name.

Even Casarez's defense lawyer is impressed with his client's cunning. "He reminds me of the guy in Catch Me If You Can," attorney Abe Factor told the newspaper.

While Casarez was pleading guilty in Fort Worth, a California court was hearing the guilty plea of another young man -- Russian-born Roman Karelov, 19 -- in the breakup of a major identity theft conspiracy.

Karelov was convicted of working with Aleksey Chugaev, 25, another Russian national who was also living in Baltimore, Md., on work visa. Chugaev is accused of using stolen identities and credit information to make Internet purchases of laptops, jewelry, gift cards, and travelers checks from U.S. businesses, then having them shipped to various addresses controlled by Karelov.

Karelov then repackaged the items and sent them to addresses in Russia controlled by Chugaev, the FBI says. Karelov also opened bank accounts into which he deposited cash obtained from debit cards purchased with stolen identities. In a plea agreement, Karelov admitted to causing between $200,000 and $400,000 in losses to U.S. victims.

Chugaev is still at large and is presumed to be in Russia. A lesser conspirator, Rakid Nizamov, 22, was sentenced in August to seven months in prison, followed by 36 months of supervised release. Karelov knew that Chugaev was also working with other participants in the scheme who also were located in the United States, according to a statement.

Karelov will be sentenced on December 3. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and is certain to get more than two years, according to the plea agreement. Both Karelov and Nizamov will likely be deported to Russia once they have completed their sentences, authorities said.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
How SolarWinds Busted Up Our Assumptions About Code Signing
Dr. Jethro Beekman, Technical Director,  3/3/2021
News
'ObliqueRAT' Now Hides Behind Images on Compromised Websites
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  3/2/2021
News
Attackers Turn Struggling Software Projects Into Trojan Horses
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/26/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: George has not accepted that the technology age has come to an end.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-28466
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
This affects all versions of package github.com/nats-io/nats-server/server. Untrusted accounts are able to crash the server using configs that represent a service export/import cycles. Disclaimer from the maintainers: Running a NATS service which is exposed to untrusted users presents a heightened r...
CVE-2021-27364
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.11.3. drivers/scsi/scsi_transport_iscsi.c is adversely affected by the ability of an unprivileged user to craft Netlink messages.
CVE-2021-27365
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.11.3. Certain iSCSI data structures do not have appropriate length constraints or checks, and can exceed the PAGE_SIZE value. An unprivileged user can send a Netlink message that is associated with iSCSI, and has a length up to the maximum length...
CVE-2021-27363
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.11.3. A kernel pointer leak can be used to determine the address of the iscsi_transport structure. When an iSCSI transport is registered with the iSCSI subsystem, the transport's handle is available to unprivileged users via the sysfs file system...
CVE-2021-26294
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in AfterLogic Aurora through 7.7.9 and WebMail Pro through 7.7.9. They allow directory traversal to read files (such as a data/settings/settings.xml file containing admin panel credentials), as demonstrated by dav/server.php/files/personal/%2e%2e when using the caldav_public_...