Man Who Bought And Sold Stolen Personal Information Online Convicted Of Participating In Racketeering Organization
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The first defendant to go to trial in “Operation Open Market,” an investigation of a sophisticated cybercrime organization that operated a world-wide online market place for stolen personal and financial information, was convicted today by a federal jury in Las Vegas, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada and Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
David Ray Camez, 22, of Phoenix, Ariz., was convicted of one count of participating in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization and one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization. Camez is scheduled to be sentenced on April 10, 2014, and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count and fines of up to $250,000. The trial began on Nov. 18, 2013.
“It is difficult to fathom the enormity and complexity of the Carder.su racketeering organization and its far-reaching tentacles across international borders,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “The Internet has provided sophisticated international criminals access to the United States and its citizens, and the ability and means to harm us. It has given new definition to reaching out and touching someone. This verdict and our charges against other members of this criminal organization demonstrate that we are likewise reaching out and touching them with our federal criminal justice system.”
“The actions of these computer hackers and identity thieves have harmed countless innocent Americans and seriously compromised our financial system and global commerce,” said Michael Harris, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Las Vegas. “These criminals may think they can escape detection by hiding behind their computer screens here and overseas, but as this verdict demonstrates, cyberspace is not a refuge from American justice.”
Camez was one of 39 charged in an indictment returned in January 2012. Five others have pleaded guilty, seven are scheduled for trial in February 2014, and the rest are fugitives. There were also 16 other defendants charged in the scheme in three separate indictments. Most of those defendants are also scheduled to go to trial in February.
The target of the investigation was an organization which called itself “Carder.su.” Investigation of the Carder.su organization began in March 2007, after the United States Secret Service, operating in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who participate in the Southwestern Identity Theft and Fraud Task Force (SWIFT), began investigating a pattern of credit and debit card fraud. A special agent initiated an undercover investigation called Open Market and assumed the identity as a member of the organization when it was in its infancy.
The investigation determined that members of the Carder.su organization, known as “carders,” were involved in large scale trafficking of compromised credit card account data and counterfeit identifications and credit cards, as well as money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and various types of computer crime. The organization operated an internet web portal called a forum, where members could purchase the illicitly obtained data and share knowledge of various fraud schemes. A second forum was also created to vet incoming new members. The forums were generally hosted within the former Soviet Union and the upper echelon of the organization resides within the former Soviet Union. It was estimated that in July 2011, there were over 5,500 members of the organization.
It was determined that members of the organization had different roles, including moderators who directed other members in carrying out activities; reviewers who examined and tested products, services, and contraband; vendors who advertised and sold products, services and contraband; and members. Members were required to successfully complete a number of security features designed to protect the organization from infiltration by law enforcement or members of rival criminal organizations. Camez became a member of the organization under the name “Bad Man” on June 22, 2008. Camez also used the name “doctorsex.” During 2009 and 2010, the undercover special agent had multiple contacts with Camez in which Camez purchased counterfeit Nevada and Arizona driver’s licenses. Investigators also intercepted and seized a package shipped to Camez from Pakistan which contained counterfeit credit and gift cards. During a search of Camez’ home in Phoenix in May 2010, agents recovered counterfeit credit cards, equipment used to manufacture counterfeit credit cards, counterfeit U.S. currency, and counterfeit identification documents. A search of Camez’ computer revealed software used to encode counterfeit credit cards and stolen identity information.
In addition to the U.S. Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations and members of the SWIFT Task Force in Las Vegas, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Computer Crimes Division, also provided assistance in the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly M. Frayn and Andrew W. Duncan, and Trial Attorney Jonathan Ophardt of the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Gang Section.
This law enforcement action is sponsored by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.