Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Five More Indicted in Probe of International Carding Ring

Five eastern European men were indicted in New York on Monday as part of an international ring allegedly responsible for at least $4 million in credit card theft.

The ring, which authorities dubbed the Western Express Cybercrime Group, operated between 2001 and 2007 and trafficked in at least 95,000 known stolen credit card numbers, including some belonging to victims in New York, where the case is being prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

The five named in an indictment unsealed this week include Vasilyev Viatcheslav, 33, and Vladimir Kramarenko, 31, of Czechoslovakia, who were arrested in Prague in July 2008 and only extradited to the U.S. last week; Egor Shevelev, 23, a Ukrainian arrested last year during a vacation in Greece and awaiting extradition; Oleg Kovelin, 28, from Moldova (spelled “Covelin” in some documents); and Dzimitry Burak, 26, a Belorussian who was last living in Ukraine. The latter two have not yet been apprehended. A sixth defendant has not been named yet.

The five men named this week allegedly worked in concert with 17 other defendants who were previously charged with a 173-count indictment in November 2007, along with a New York-based company called Western Express International Inc., which authorities allege was used to coordinate and facilitate the illegal activities and launder the ring’s ill-gotten gains. Of those 17 defendants, 14 have been arrested. Five pleaded guilty.

The new defendants have been charged with enterprise corruption, a felony, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison; two counts of scheming to defraud, also a felony, which is punishable by up to four years in prison; and one count of conspiracy, a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail. Three of the defendants have been indicted on additional charges, including grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen goods and money laundering.

The ring allegedly operated an online carding forum called the International Association for the Advancement of Criminal Activity, where thieves trafficked in stolen credit card numbers and other information. The defendants also allegedly forged credit cards using stolen numbers, and turned them into cash with the unwitting help of eBay users.

Specifically, authorities say Vasilyev, also known as “TheViver,” and Kramarenko, known as “Envisor” and “Inexwor,” recruited mules online to advertise goods on eBay that they didn’t actually have. Then when a buyer purchased the goods, the defendants allegedly kept the payment, then used a stolen credit card to buy the item elsewhere and send it to the purchaser.
Burak, who was known online as “Graph,” “Wolf,” and “Leon Kurochkin,” allegedly was an administrator of an online forum called DumpsMarket where thieves bought and sold stolen bank card numbers and other data. He’s wanted in California on similar charges to the ones in New York.
Kovelin, also known as “DoZ,” is accused of running a phishing operation to trick victims into disclosing sensitive information and of hacking into victim’s online financial accounts. Authorities say they uncovered more than 55,000 stolen credit card account numbers in Burak’s e-mail accounts, which were used in fraudulent activity that resulted in actual losses exceeding $21 million.
Authorities say Shevelev, also known as “Eskalibur” and “Esk” operated out of Kiev, Ukraine, and trafficked in more than 75,000 stolen credit card numbers and laundered more than $600,000 in digital currency through E-Gold and the Russia-based payment system WebMoney. In addition to the charges in New York, he’s been indicted in Florida on identity theft and access device fraud charges.
The case is the culmination of a joint investigation between the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and the U.S. Secret Service.


  1. Greetings Tracy,

    Interesting Blog. How's the response so far? I work with CyberSecurity Malaysia. The names says where we are located. One of my tasks main tasks is to educated Malaysians on internet safety. We call our program CyberSAFE - Cyber Security Awareness For Everyone. We have thought of having a blog to reach out to the public. Hence the question, how's your blog so far?

    Iskandar (Mr.)
    Director, Corporate Strategy, Communication & Outreach

  2. So far so good. It is very new and I haven't yet started to drive traffic to it yet. I really wanted to get the sidebar fitted with good solid information. I too work in CyberSecurity, my aim is to educate the puplic and small businesses about the real dangers of Cyber Crime.