Bulgarian Faces Hacking Charges in NJ

Monday, July 1, 2013 @ 05:07 PM gHale

A Bulgarian national was to appear in Newark, NJ, federal court Monday after extradition from Paraguay to face U.S. charges he participated in the Shadowcrew forum, an online marketplace for hacking and identity theft that was the largest of its kind when dismantled by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Secret Service in 2004, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Aleksi Kolarov, 30, evaded capture until June 14, 2011, when Paraguayan law enforcement authorities arrested him at a hotel in Asuncion, Paraguay. At the time of his arrest he had hundreds of thousands of dollars in various currencies, counterfeit payment cards and electronic implements to re-encode cards, officials said. He remained held in Paraguay since then.

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The U.S. indictment charges Kolarov with one count each of conspiracy, transferring false identification documents and offering access devices without authorization. He arrived in the United States June 28 escorted by U.S. Marshals, and was held in federal custody over the weekend. He was to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.

“Aleksi Kolorov is charged with conspiring in the most notorious online cybercrime marketplace of its time, selling the means to steal money and identities to other criminals,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “This extradition shows that hiding behind computers and borders does not deter us. It is vital that law enforcement work internationally to bring cybercriminals to justice, no matter how long it takes.”

According to the indictment:
• Shadowcrew.com was an illegal online marketplace that trafficked in at least 1.5 million stolen credit and bank card numbers and caused more than $4 million in losses to the institutions issuing the cards.
• Kolarov, along with the other 18 individuals charged in the indictment, participated in the international conspiracy to operate the Shadowcrew site. As part of the organization, Kolarov served as a vendor, using the site to sell illicit merchandise and services to other members. At one time, Shadowcrew.com had approximately 4,000 members dedicated to facilitating malicious computer hacking and the dissemination of stolen credit card, debit card and bank account numbers and counterfeit identification documents, such as drivers’ licenses, passports and Social Security cards. The conspiracy to commit this activity, often referred to as “carding,” facilitated the use of account numbers and counterfeit identity documents to steal identities and defraud banks and retailers.

Of the 19 international participants charged in the indictment, only three remain at large.

If convicted, Kolarov faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy count, 15 years in prison on the identification documents count and 10 years in prison on the access device count. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine

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