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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of Defendant Charged With Participation In Massive Hacks Into U.S. Financial Institutions

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and David E. Beach, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service New York Field Office (“USSS”), announced that JOSHUA SAMUEL AARON, a/k/a “Mike Shields,” was arrested earlier today at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  AARON, along with defendant Gery Shalon, a/k/a “Garri Shalelashvili,” a/k/a “Gabriel,” a/k/a “Gabi,” a/k/a “Phillipe Mousset,” a/k/a “Christopher Engeham,” is charged with crimes arising out of Shalon’s and AARON’s orchestration of massive computer hacking crimes against U.S. financial institutions, brokerage firms, and financial news publishers, including the largest theft of customer data from a U.S. financial institution in history.  Shalon and AARON are charged with committing these crimes in furtherance of securities market manipulation schemes that Shalon and AARON perpetrated with defendant Ziv Orenstein, a/k/a “Aviv Stein,” a/k/a “John Avery.”  AARON will be presented this afternoon in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV.  AARON is expected to appear before United States District Judge Laura Taylor Swain tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.  The charges against AARON, Shalon, and Orenstein were made public on November 10, 2015.  (To read the November 10, 2015, press release, click here.)

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Joshua Samuel Aaron allegedly worked to hack into the networks of dozens of American companies, ultimately leading to the largest theft of personal information from U.S. financial institutions ever.  For pursuing what we have called ‘hacking as a business model,’ and thanks to the efforts of the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, Aaron will now join his co-defendants to face justice in a Manhattan federal courtroom.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Today, Josh Aaron was taken into the custody of the FBI to face charges filed against him more than a year and a half ago for his alleged role orchestrating a massive computer hack into U.S. financial institutions, brokerage firms, and financial news publishers and for his role in a multimillion-dollar stock manipulation scheme.”

U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge David E. Beach said:  “The arrest of this alleged transnational cybercriminal illustrates the dedication of the Secret Service and reach of the U.S. Government in the disruption and dismantling of global criminal networks.  The precedent set by this successful United States deportation should serve as a warning to criminals that the Secret Service will relentlessly investigate, detect, and defend the Nation’s financial infrastructure both domestically and internationally.”

Shalon and Orenstein were arrested by Israeli authorities in July 2015, and were extradited from Israel in June 2016. 

*                      *                     *

AARON, 32, a U.S. citizen who had been residing in Moscow, Russia, is charged in a Superseding Indictment, S1 15 Cr. 333 (LTS), along with his co-defendants with the following offenses, which carry the maximum prison terms listed below.  The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Count

Defendants

Charge

Maximum Prison Term

One

SHALON and AARON

Conspiracy to commit computer hacking

5 years

Two

SHALON and AARON

Computer hacking

5 years

Three

SHALON and AARON

Computer hacking

5 years

Four

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Conspiracy to commit securities fraud

5 years

Five

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud: Securities Market Manipulation Scheme

 

20 years

Six

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Securities fraud

20 years

Seven

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Eight

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Nine

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Ten

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Eleven

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Twelve

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

 

Thirteen

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Wire fraud

20 years

Fourteen

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Conspiracy to commit identification document fraud

15 years

Fifteen

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Aggravated identity theft

Mandatory 2 years

Twenty-Two

SHALON, AARON, and ORENSTEIN

Conspiracy to commit money laundering: Securities Market Manipulation Scheme

20 years

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI and the United States Secret Service, and expressed his sincere gratitude to the Office of the State Attorney of the Israel Ministry of Justice’s Department of International Affairs and the Israel National Police, including its Cyber Unit - Lahav 433, for their support and assistance with the investigation.  He also thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which significantly aided the investigation by facilitating information-sharing among the victim institutions.

The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eun Young Choi, Noah Solowiejczyk, and Sarah Lai are in charge of the prosecution.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Tracer of the Office’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit is in charge of the forfeiture aspects of the case.

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

16-337
Topic: 
Cyber Crime
Updated December 14, 2016