NEWARK, N.J. – A Russian national living in New York was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for conspiring with others to hack into retail brokerage accounts and execute sham trades, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Petr Murmylyuk, 33, of Brooklyn, N.Y., previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Judge Salas imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
Murmylyuk admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to steal from online trading accounts at Scottrade, E*Trade, Fidelity, Schwab and other brokerage firms. Members of the conspiracy first gained unauthorized access to the online accounts of brokerage firm customers. The conspirators then used stolen identities to open additional accounts – referred to in the Information as "Profit Accounts" – at other brokerage houses. They then caused the victims' accounts to make unprofitable and illogical securities trades with the Profit Accounts, leading to losses in the victims' accounts and gains in the Profit Accounts. One version of the fraud involved causing the victims' accounts to sell options contracts to the Profit Accounts, then to purchase the same contracts back minutes later for many times the price.
The members of the conspiracy recruited foreign nationals visiting, studying, and living in the United States to open bank accounts into which illegal proceeds could be deposited. The conspirators then caused the proceeds of the sham trades to be transferred from the Profit Accounts into those accounts, where the stolen money could be withdrawn. The scheme caused combined losses to Scottrade, E*Trade, Fidelity, Schwab and other affected brokerage firms of approximately $1 million.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Salas sentenced Murmylyuk to serve three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $505,357.79 in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McLees; and IRS – Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Weirauch, with the investigation leading to today's sentencing. He also thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Philadelphia Regional Office, under the leadership of its Regional Director Daniel M. Hawke, and the Justice Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section for their assistance in the investigation, as well as the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, under the direction of District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., for its contributions and cooperation in coordinating parallel investigations.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Kelly, Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.