Seattle – The Department of Justice investigative team in a major cybercrime case, pursued in the Western District of Washington, was honored today with an Executive Office of U.S. Attorney’s Director’s award for Outstanding Litigative Team, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. The prosecutors, paralegals, and cyber investigators from the FBI broke up the hacking group Fin7. The award was presented today in Washington DC.
“Investigating and prosecuting cybercrime is uniquely challenging –the offenders hide behind keyboards, often overseas, but can do untold billions of dollars in damage,” said U.S. Attorney Brown. “With Fin7, the tireless work by our team saw three of the defendants arrested and brought to the United States to face charges. All three have been held accountable with significant prison sentences. Fin7 as an entity is no more.”
Those recognized today with the Director’s Award include: Former Assistant United States Attorneys Frances Franze-Nakamura and Steven Masada, and DOJ Trial Attorney Anthony Teelucksingh for their work prosecuting the case; Paralegals Anna Chang and Salee Porter for their critical work organizing records and discovery from companies, foreign governments, and law enforcement so that we could successfully petition for the extradition of the three defendants who were arrested while traveling in Germany, Spain, and Thailand; and FBI special agents who all performed outstanding investigative and analytic work that was critical to the successful prosecution.
According to records filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, between 2015 and 2018, FIN7 members engaged in a highly sophisticated malware campaign to attack more than 100 U.S. companies, predominantly in the restaurant, gaming, and hospitality industries. FIN7 hacked into thousands of computer systems and stole millions of customer credit and debit card numbers which were used or sold for profit.
In the United States alone, FIN7 successfully breached the computer networks of businesses in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, stealing more than 15 million customer card records from over 6,500 individual point-of-sale terminals at more than 3,600 separate business locations. Additional intrusions occurred abroad, including in the United Kingdom, Australia, and France. Companies that have publicly disclosed hacks attributable to FIN7 include such familiar chains as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chili’s, Arby’s, Red Robin and Jason’s Deli.
Fedir Hladyr, 38, a Ukranian national, who played a managerial role in FIN7, was arrested in Dresden, Germany and was sentenced in April 2021 to ten years in prison. Andrii Kolpakov, 35, who served as a high-level hacker, was arrested in Lepe, Spain, and was sentenced to seven years in prison June 2021. Denys Iarmak, 33, who also served as a high-level hacker was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand and was sentenced to five years in prison in April 2022.
The Director’s Awards are awarded annually by the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys to recognize outstanding work by U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the United States.