Russian National Sentenced for Operating Websites Devoted to Fraud and Malicious Cyber Activities
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Russian national was sentenced today to nine years in prison for his operation of two websites devoted to the facilitation of payment card fraud, computer hacking, and other crimes.
“Aleksei Burkov’s massive fraud victimized hundreds of thousands of people and resulted in over $20 million in losses,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Tackling global cybercrime means holding accountable leaders like Burkov who have allowed cybercrime to become organized and hyper-specialized. I want to thank our prosecutors and investigative partners for their terrific work on this complex case.”
According to court documents, Burkov, 30, ran a website called “Cardplanet” that sold payment card numbers (e.g., debit and credit card numbers) that had been stolen primarily through computer intrusions. Many of the card numbers 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 using United States credit card accounts.
Burkov also 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, Israel 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. On January 23, 2020, Burkov pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, identity theft, computer intrusions, wire fraud, and money laundering.
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 sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kellen S. Dwyer and Alexander P. Berrang prosecuted the case, along with Senior 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.