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Georgia Man Pleads Guilty To Hacking, Insider Trading

Leonid Momotok breached newswire networks and used confidential data for illegal trades worth $30 million.

A man from Georgia has pleaded guilty before a US judge for committing wire fraud that netted around $30 million in illegal profits. The US Justice Department said that between 2010 and 2015, Leonid Momotok of Georgia and his accomplices carried out what is described as “one of the most sophisticated to date” trading fraud schemes. Momotok could get up to 20 years in jail.

According to authorities, cybercriminals based in Ukraine hacked into the networks of three newswire agencies and accessed 150,000 yet-unpublished press releases on financial announcements by public companies. The confidential information was then used by Momotok and traders to arrange illegal trades, sometimes within a very short period and often within one day, ahead of the public release of the announcements.

“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates our steadfast commitment and preparedness to combating the ever-evolving threat of cybercrime and to protecting the integrity of our financial markets,” said US attorney Robert L. Capers.

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