BELARUSIAN OPERATOR OF INTERNATIONAL IDENTITY-THEFT WEBSITE SENTENCED IN MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT TO 33 MONTHS IN PRISON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday March 23, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DMITRY M. NASKOVETS, the creator and operator of CallService.biz, an online business that helped over 2,000 identity thieves commit over 5,000 acts of fraud, was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for conspiring to commit wire fraud and credit card fraud. Through Callservice.biz, NASKOVETS helped other online fraudsters use stolen information by providing English language calling services to deceive banks in the United States. NASKOVETS was arrested in the Czech Republic in April 2010 as part of a multinational law enforcement operation, and was subsequently extradited to the Southern District of New York, where he pled guilty in February 2011. NASKOVETS was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in Manhattan federal court.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Through his website, Dimitry Naskovets served as the middleman for a network of identity thieves who used his many employees to impersonate thousands of victims in exchange for a stake in the profits from the fraudulent transactions they helped facilitate. This case is another example of how cybercrime knows no geographic boundaries and of how we will work with our partners in the United States and around the world to catch and punish cyber criminals.”
According to the Indictment and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made at court proceedings:
In June 2007, NASKOVETS, a Belarusian national, and co-conspirator Sergey Semashko, also a Belarusian national who is charged in Belarus, created CallService.biz (the “Website”), an online business intended to assist identity thieves in exploiting stolen financial information, such as credit card and debit card numbers. The Website was designed to counteract security measures put in place by financial institutions to, for example, prevent fraud when account holders try to make transfers or withdrawals from their accounts. Representatives at these financial institutions and businesses are trained to make sure that callers who represent themselves as account holders are who they say they are. So if, for example, an account holder is an American female, the screener is supposed to make sure that the caller speaks English, and does in fact sound like a woman.
In exchange for a fee, NASKOVETS and Semashko provided the services of English- and German-speaking individuals through the website to people who had stolen account and biographical information to defeat the security screening processes. Specifically, they would pose as authorized account holders and place telephone calls to financial institutions and other businesses to conduct or confirm fraudulent withdrawals, transactions, or other account activity on behalf of identity thieves. With information provided by the identity thieves over the Website, which was hosted on a computer in Lithuania, the fraudulent callers would confirm unauthorized withdrawals or transfers from bank accounts, unblock accounts, or change the address or phone number associated with an account so that it could be accessed by the identity thieves. After the requested call was made, NASKOVETS and his co-conspirators would report the results to the identity thief, who could issue instructions for further telephone calls, if necessary.
The Website posted advertisements for its services on other websites used by identity thieves, including CardingWorld.cc, which was allegedly operated by Semashko. The advertisements boasted that the Website had “over 2090 people working with” it and had “done over 5400 confirmation calls” to banks.
On April 15, 2010, NASKOVETS was arrested by Czech law enforcement authorities at the request of the United States. In a joint operation that same day, Belarusian law enforcement authorities arrested Semashko in Belarus, and Lithuanian law enforcement authorities seized the computers on which the Website was hosted. In addition, the FBI in New York simultaneously seized the Website domain name “Callservice.biz” pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by Judge Kaplan.
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In addition to the prison term, Judge Kaplan sentenced NASKOVETS, 27, to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $200 special assessment fee.
Mr. Bharara praised the FBI for its exceptional work on the investigation. He also thanked the Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs, High Tech Crime Department; the Police Presidium of the Czech Republic; and the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau Cybercrime Board for their assistance.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Ferrara and Thomas G.A. Brown are in charge of the prosecution.