Michigan Man Who Orchestrated International Computer Fraud Scheme and Online Drug Distribution Scheme Pleads Guilty
BOSTON – A New York City man was charged yesterday with conspiracies to engage in computer hacking, trafficking in stolen payment card numbers, and money laundering.
Vitalii Antonenko, 28, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computer networks and to traffic in unauthorized access devices, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. In March 2019, Antonenko was arrested and detained on money laundering charges at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after he arrived there from Ukraine carrying computers and other digital media that held hundreds of thousands of stolen payment card numbers.
As alleged in the indictment, Antonenko and co-conspirators scoured the internet for computer networks with security vulnerabilities that were likely to contain credit and debit card account numbers, expiration dates, and card verification values (Payment Card Data) and other personally identifiable information (PII). They used a hacking technique known as a “SQL injection attack” to access those networks without authorization, extracted Payment Card Data and other PII, and transferred it for sale on online criminal marketplaces. Once a co-conspirator sold the data, Antonenko and others used Bitcoin as well as traditional bank and cash transactions to launder the proceeds in order to disguise their nature, location, source, ownership, and control.
The charge of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access and to traffic in access devices provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, restitution and forfeiture. The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $500,000 fine, restitution and forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Frederick J. Regan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Boston Field Office and made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Kosto of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.