Russian National Pleads Guilty to Running Online Criminal Marketplace
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Russian national pleaded guilty today to charges related to his operation of two websites devoted to the facilitation of payment card fraud, computer hacking, and other crimes.
According to court documents, Aleksei Burkov, 29, ran a website called “Cardplanet” that sold payment card numbers (e.g., debit and credit cards) that had been stolen primarily through computer intrusions. Many of the cards offered for sale belonged to United States citizens. The stolen credit card data sold on Burkov’s site has resulted in over $20 million in fraudulent purchases made on United States credit cards.
Additionally, Burkov ran another website that served as an invite-only club where elite cybercriminals could advertise stolen goods, such as personal identifying information and malicious software, and criminal services, such as money laundering and hacking services. To obtain membership in Burkov’s cybercrime forum, prospective members needed three existing members to “vouch” for their good reputation among cybercriminals and to provide a sum of money, normally $5,000, as insurance. These measures were designed to keep law enforcement from accessing Burkov’s cybercrime forum and to ensure that members of the forum honored any deals made while conducting business on the forum.
Burkov was arrested at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv in December 2015. An Israeli district court approved his extradition in 2017. He was extradited to the United States from Israel on Nov. 11, 2019, after appeals to the Israeli Supreme Court and the Israeli High Court of Justice were denied.
Burkov pleaded guilty to access device fraud and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, identity theft, wire and access device fraud, and money laundering, and faces a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison when sentenced on May 8. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Matthew S. Miller, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kellen S. Dwyer and Alexander P. Berrang are prosecuting the case, along with Trial Attorney Laura Fong of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
The Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s extradition from Israel.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-cr-245.