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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New York Man Sentenced To 92 Months In Prison For Role In Multimillion-Dollar International Cybercrime Scheme

Defendant Managed ‘Cash Out’ Crews for Organization that Allegedly Capitalized on Information Hacked From Customers of More Than a Dozen Global Financial Institutions

TRENTON, N.J. – A member of an international cybercrime, identity theft and credit card fraud conspiracy was sentenced today to 92 months in prison for using information hacked from customer accounts held at more than a dozen banks, brokerage firms, payroll processing companies and government agencies in an attempt to steal at least $15 million from American customers, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Oleg Pidtergerya, 50, of Brooklyn, New York, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and identity theft. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

Pidtergerya was asked by leaders of the conspiracy to participate in a scheme to “cash out” bank accounts and pre-paid debit cards opened in the names of others. Oleksiy Sharapka, 34, of Kiev, Ukraine, allegedly directed the conspiracy with the help of Leonid Yanovitsky, 40, also of Kiev. Pidtergerya managed a cash out crew in New York for Sharapka and Yanovitsky.

Conspiring hackers first gained unauthorized access to the bank accounts of customers of more than a dozen global financial institutions and businesses, including: Aon Hewitt; Automatic Data Processing Inc.; Citibank N.A.; E-Trade; Electronic Payments Inc.; Fundtech Holdings LLC, iPayment Inc.; JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.; Nordstrom Bank; PayPal; TD Ameritrade; U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Finance and Accounting Service; TIAA-CREF; USAA; and Veracity Payment Solutions Inc.

After obtaining unauthorized access to the bank accounts, Sharapka and Yanovitsky diverted money from them to bank accounts and pre-paid debit cards they controlled. They then employed crews of individuals known as “cashers” to withdraw the stolen funds from the fraudulent accounts, among other ways, by making ATM withdrawals and fraudulent purchases in New York, Massachusetts, Georgia and elsewhere. Both Sharapka and Yanovitsky are under indictment in the United States and remain at large.

Pidtergerya admitted he was aware fraudulent accounts and cards were created without the consent of the individuals in whose names they were opened. He admitted coordinating ATM and bank withdrawals of the stolen funds. He also admitted to sending proceeds of the fraud to Sharapka and Yanovitsky in Ukraine.

The government’s ongoing investigation into the organization has so far identified attempts to defraud the victim companies and their customers of more than $15 million.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Pidtergerya to three years of supervised release, ordered him to pay restitution of $1,758,127, and entered a forfeiture judgment of $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Carl Agnelli; U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly;  Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffery D. Thorpe, Cyber Field Office; and IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the ongoing investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection for assistance with the Yarmolitsky arrest.

The government is represented by Economic Crimes Unit Chief Gurbir S. Grewal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

The charges and allegations concerning alleged conspirators are merely allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.  

Defense counsel: Mitchell Elman Esq., Port Washington, New York

Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
15-125
Updated February 24, 2016