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Grand Jury Busts 17 in Internet Crime Ring

Two-year investigation uncovers 95,000 stolen credit cards and more than $4 million in fraud

Chalk up one for the good guys: A New York grand jury has indicted 17 people and a corporation on charges of identity theft, worldwide trafficking in stolen credit card numbers, and other crimes committed using the Internet.

The 173-count indictment, which resulted from the second phase of a two-year investigation, says the defendants trafficked in more than 95,000 stolen credit card numbers and caused more than $4 million in credit card fraud, according to an Associated Press report.

The defendants ran Internet ads saying they had countless credit card numbers and other identifying information to sell to crooks, according to Manhattan Assistant District Attorney John Bandler. One of their Websites was subtly titled "The International Association for the Advancement of Criminal Activity."

Two of the defendants are a married couple, Vadim Vassilenko, 40, and Yelena Barysheva, 42, who pleaded guilty in September 2006 to falsifying business records and violating New York banking law by running an unlicensed check cashing and money transfer business.

Vassilenko, born in Ukraine, was sentenced at the time to two to six years in prison, and Barysheva, born in Russia, was sentenced to one to three years. Their son, Alexey Baryshev, is being sought, prosecutors said.

The latest indictment charges that Vassilenko, Barysheva, and several other people, who were arrested in four states, moved more than $35 million in suspect funds through their service, Western Express International. Bandler said the defendants provided money transfer and currency exchange services.

Defense lawyer Daniel Gotlin called the new charges against Vassilenko and Barysheva pointless and repetitive, saying many were the same as those charged in 2006. He also said prosecutors were being vindictive because they were disappointed with Vassilenko's and Barysheva's sentences.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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

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