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Hacker Gets Three Years For Hijacking Schwab Brokerage Accounts

Russian laundered more than $246,000, sending a portion back to Russia

A Russian national Wednesday was sentenced to 37 months in prison for hacking into victims' brokerage accounts at Charles Schwab, laundering more than $246,000 and sending a portion back to co-conspirators in Russia.

According to an FBI release, Aleksey Volynskiy also sold approximately 180 stolen credit card numbers to a cooperating witness and directed that they be fabricated into credit cards.

According to the indictment, from approximately September 2006 through December 2007 Volynskiy and co-defendant Alexander Bobnev participated in a scheme to steal funds from bank and brokerage accounts by hacking into those accounts through the Internet, using personal financial information obtained through computer viruses and then laundering the stolen proceeds.

To carry out this scheme, Bobnev and co-conspirators in Russia used Trojan horses to hack into the personal computers of multiple victims in the United States. These Trojan horses were designed to steal personal account information from individual victims as they accessed their bank and brokerage accounts through the Internet.

After the Trojan horses captured the victims' personal account information, Bobnev and other co-conspirators used the information to access victims' bank and brokerage accounts, and thereafter made unauthorized sales of securities and unauthorized wire transfers out of these accounts.

Volynskiy, along with co-conspirators residing in the United States, next set up various "drop" accounts to receive the funds stolen from their victims' bank and brokerage accounts. Then they sent a portion of the stolen funds from the various drop accounts in the United States to co-conspirators in Russia through money remitting services, keeping a portion of the fraud proceeds for themselves.

In addition to the scheme to hack into victims' brokerage accounts, Volynskiy participated in a scheme to steal funds from bank accounts by withdrawing money from those accounts at ATMs using stolen credit card numbers, the indictment says. On three separate occasions, Volynskiy provided a total of 180 stolen credit card numbers to a cooperating witness, directing that they be fabricated into credit cards.

Volynskiy was arrested on Dec. 4, 2008, and pleaded guilty on Aug. 4, 2009, to five counts, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, unlawful access and damaging a protected computer, money laundering, and access device fraud. Bobnev remains at large.

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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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