Four Nigerian Nationals Extradited To The United States To Face Charges In Wire Fraud And Identity Theft Conspiracy
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg, along with Special Agent in Charge Kareem Carter for the IRS - Criminal Investigation Washington D.C. Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge David Walker for the FBI - Tampa Division, announces that Vitalii Chychasov (37, Ukraine) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and trafficking in unauthorized access devices relating to his administration of SSNDOB Marketplace, a series of websites that operated for years and were used to sell personal information, including the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers belonging to individuals in the United States. The SSNDOB Marketplace has listed the personal information for millions of individuals in the United States, generating more than $19 million in sales revenue. On June 7, 2022, seizure orders were executed against the domain names of the SSNDOB Marketplace, effectively ceasing the website’s operation.
Chychasov faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison, and as part of his plea agreement, he has agreed to forfeit the internet domains BLACKJOB.BIZ, SSNDOB.CLUB, SSNDOB.VIP, and SSNDOB.WS, which were used to commit the offenses and were part of the series of domains that comprised the “Marketplace.” Chychasov also agreed to a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $5 million, the proceeds of the access device fraud.
Chychasov was arrested in March 2022 while attempting to enter Hungary; and was extradited to the United States in July 2022. A second SSNDOB Marketplace administrator, Sergey Pugach, was arrested in May 2022.
According to court records, the SSNDOB administrators created advertisements on dark web criminal forums for the Marketplace’s services, provided customer support functions, and regularly monitored the activities of the sites, including monitoring when purchasers deposited money into their accounts. The administrators also employed various techniques to protect their anonymity and to thwart detection of their activities, including strategically maintaining servers in various countries, and requiring buyers to use digital payment methods.
Stolen Social Security numbers can be used to commit a variety of frauds, including United States tax fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, loan fraud, credit card fraud, and the like. Investigators determined that a single buyer from the site used stolen personal identifying information that he purchased to steal and launder nearly $10 million.
The U.S. investigation was led by the IRS - Criminal Investigation Cyber Crimes Unit and the FBI – Tampa Division, with assistance from the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Tampa Field Office. Substantial assistance was also provided by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the FBI’s Legal Attaché Offices responsible for Latvia and Cyprus, the Latvian Police, and the Cypriot authorities.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Jones and the asset forfeiture is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Nebesky.