NEWARK, N.J. -- Eight people have been charged with hacking customer accounts at more than a dozen banks, brokerage firms and payroll-processing companies and trying to steal at least $15 million, federal prosecutors said.
Four men were arrested and were scheduled to appear Wednesday in federal court in Newark, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement. The ring was run by Oleksiy Sharapka, 33, of Kiev, Ukraine, who finished an 8 1/2-year U.S. prison term last year, according to the FBI.
"Cybercriminals penetrated some of our most trusted financial institutions as
part of a global scheme that stole money and identities," Fishman said in a statement. They used stolen identities to "'cash out' hacked accounts in a series of internationally coordinated modern-day bank robberies."
Sharapka oversaw the scheme with another Kiev man, Leonid Yanovitsky, 38, according to the FBI. Oleg Pidtergerya, 49, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Robert Dubuc, 40, of Malden, Mass., and Andrey Yarmolitskiy, 41, of Atlanta, managed "cash out crews" in their respective cities, according to the FBI.
The scheme involved hacking into the networks of companies including Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase and moving money from the accounts of customers to accounts controlled by crews of "cashers," according to Fishman. They then made withdrawals from automated teller machines and fraudulent purchases in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Georgia and elsewhere, Fishman said.
Pidtergerya, Dubuc and Ilya Ostapyuk, 31, of Brooklyn, were arrested Wednesday, and Yarmolitskiy was arrested Tuesday, according to Fishman. Sharapka and Yanovitsky remain at large.
The defendants are charged with three conspiracies: to commit wire fraud; to commit money laundering; and to commit identity theft.