Ukrainian Man Extradited to the United States to Face Charges in International Money Laundering and Fraud Scheme
Money Mule Operation Allegedly Effectuated the Theft and Laundering of at Least $2.8 Million
South Korean authorities extradited to the United States a Ukrainian man in connection with allegations that he conducted an extensive money laundering and fraud campaign that targeted dozens of victims, including a corporation based in the Western District of North Carolina.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray of the Western District of North Carolina and Special Agent in Charge John A. Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office made the announcement.
Aleksandr Musienko, aka “Oleksandr Serhiyovych Musiyenko,” “Robert Davis,” and “Ply,” a Ukrainian national, was charged in a recently unsealed indictment with one count of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and two counts of money laundering. Musienko had been traveling in South Korea, when, at the U.S. government’s request, South Korean officials arrested him on the charges out of the Western District of North Carolina. South Korean officials extradited Musienko to the United States on March 28. Musienko will make his initial appearance at 1:45 p.m. today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer.
According to the indictment, Musienko is charged with engaging in an extensive international money laundering and fraud scheme targeting U.S. corporations and individuals. He is alleged to have begun the scheme in 2009 and continued it through at least 2012.
In particular, Musienko allegedly partnered with overseas cybercriminals who had hacked into, and stole funds from, online bank accounts belonging to a large number of individual and corporate victims in the United States. One victim was a business based in the Western District of North Carolina. Musienko operated a network of “money mules” throughout the United States. According to the indictment, using aliases that included “Robert Davis” and phony front companies that included “Vita Finance AG” and “Hilpert AG,” Musienko recruited money mules throughout the United States using a variety of fraudulent techniques, including by advertising bogus “employment” opportunities to work as “Financial Assistants.” He promised to pay the money mules a fee of approximately five percent for each overseas wire transfer they completed.
Once Musienko had his network of money mules in place, Musienko then offered his money mule services to his cybercriminal partners to assist them in transferring stolen funds. He directed his “money mules” to use their own bank accounts to receive and then transfer proceeds from the compromised bank accounts overseas. As alleged in the indictment, Musienko’s criminal money mule operation effectuated the theft and laundering of at least $2.8 million from 2009 to 2012.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI Charlotte Field Office. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant support with the defendant’s extradition and with obtaining evidence from South Korea. Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor Phillips of the Western District of North Carolina are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.