Russian Citizen Sentenced to 60 Months’ Imprisonment for Cyber Tax Fraud Scheme
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Anton Bogdanov, a citizen of Russia, was sentenced by United States Chief District Judge Margo K. Brodie to 60 months’ imprisonment for wire fraud conspiracy and computer intrusions in connection with a scheme in which he and others hacked into private tax preparation firms, stole personal information, used that information to file federal tax returns and fraudulently attempted to obtain more than $1.5 million in tax refunds from the Department of the Treasury. The Court also ordered Bogdanov to pay $476,713 in forfeiture. Bogdanov was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2018, extradited to the United States in March 2019 and pleaded guilty in January 2020.
Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the sentence.
“Bogdanov hacked into tax preparation firms and used illegally obtained private information from innocent victims to try to steal their federal income tax refunds for his own use,” stated Acting United States Attorney Lesko. “Today’s sentence underscores the commitment of this Office to protecting the integrity of private tax return information and holding corrupt hackers like the defendant accountable for his crimes.”
“Victims in this investigation may have thought justice would be elusive when they learned Bogdanov and his cohorts were in Russia. Today's result should serve as a reminder that our reach is global, and we are laser-focused on stopping cyber criminals wherever they may try to hide,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
“Bogdanov utilized sophisticated means to steal two valuable commodities, peoples personally identifiable information and funds belonging to the American Taxpayer, stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. “IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to work side-by-side with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute international cyber criminals who infiltrate our tax system for personal gain. Justice was served in today’s sentence and should serve as a warning that cyber-criminals cannot hide anonymously beyond our borders.”
Between June 2014 and November 2016, Bogdanov, who used the online moniker “Kusok,” and his co-conspirators misappropriated personally identifiable information (“PII”), such as Social Security numbers and the dates of birth of their victims, by gaining unauthorized access to the computer systems of private tax preparation firms in the United States. Bogdanov and his co-conspirators then changed the tax return information so that the refunds were paid to prepaid debit cards that they controlled. Bogdanov and his co-conspirators also used misappropriated PII to obtain prior tax filings of victims from the IRS Transcript System website, and filed new tax returns, purportedly on behalf of the victims, so that refunds were paid to prepaid debit cards under their control. The debit cards were cashed out in the United States, and a percentage of the proceeds was wired to Bogdanov in Russia.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan E. Algor is in charge of the prosecution.
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the FBI’s Legal Attaché abroad and foreign authorities provided critical assistance in this case. The Office extends its appreciation to the Royal Thai Police, particularly the Crime Suppression Division, and the FBI’s Legal Attaché Bangkok for their assistance in apprehending the defendant. The Office also extends its appreciation to the New York County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this case.
ANTON BOGDANOV (also known as “Kusok”)
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-197 (MKB)