The United States Department of Justice recently announced that 36 individuals involved with a carding forum known as Infraud were charged as the result of an international law enforcement investigation called Operation Shadow Web. Law enforcement agencies in the United States which were part of Operation Shadow Web include the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, and the City of Henderson, Nevada Police Department. Law enforcement agencies in Albania, Luxembourg, and Thailand also assisted in the Operation Shadow Web investigation. The Infraud Organization collected and traded stolen credit card and debit card information, personal financial information, and identity theft. The Department of Justice claims the Infraud Organization caused over half a billion dollars in losses. The name of the organization comes from the carding forum’s motto, “In Fraud We Trust.”
Five of the people charged and placed under arrest as a result of the Operation Shadow Web investigation were American citizens. The Americans who were arrested included 33 year old John Telusma, also known as “John Westley Telusma,” and “Peterelliot,” of Brooklyn, New York, 29 year old Jose Gamboa, also known as “Jose Gamboa-Soto,” “Rafael Garcia,” “Rafael101,” “Memberplex2006,” and “Knowledge,” of Los Angeles, California, 31 year old Pius Sushil Wilson, also known as “FDIC,” “TheRealGuru,” “TheRealGuruNYC,” “Po1son,” “1nfection,” and “1nfected,” of Flushing, New York, and 33 year old David Jonathan Vargas, also known as “Cashmoneyinc,” “Avb,” “Poony,” “Renegade11,” and “DvdSVrgs,” of San Diego, California.
The administrator of the Infraud Organization was a 34 year old Ukrainian named Svyatoslav Bondarenko, also known as “Obnon,” “Rector,” and “Helkern.” Bondarenko is also said to have been the administrator of another carding forum, known as Darklife.ws, which is no longer online. Bondarenko founded the Infraud Organization in October of 2010, but stopped his activity with Infraud in 2015. Sergey Medvedev, a 31 year old Russian national, is alleged to be the co-founder of the Infraud Organization. Medvedev was arrested by police at his apartment in Bangkok, Thailand. When Bondarenko disappeared from the carding forum in 2015, Medvedev took his place as the forum’s administrator. Medvedev is set to be extradited to the United States to face prosecution.
According to the indictment, members of the Infraud Organization had used Liberty Reserve in the past to transfer money. Liberty Reserve was shut down by American law enforcement agencies for money laundering in 2013 using the USA PATRIOT Act. Infraud then moved on to using cryptocurrencies for payments. Police in Thailand seized over 100,000 Bitcoins, nearly worth a billion US dollars, which belonged to the Infraud Organization. Members of the Infraud Organization are alleged to have communicated over ICQ chats.
Other suspects who were arrested as part of the Operation Shadow Web investigation included people from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Kosovo, Serbia, Ukraine, and Pakistan. Suspects came from a total of 17 countries. There are still 18 suspects who were charged but are not in custody, and five other suspects who were indicted remain at large. Infraud had a hierarchy which included the administrators, super moderators, and moderators who controlled the site, which was used by vendors, VIP members, and regular users.
“Criminals cannot hide behind their computer screens. We are working vigilantly with American and international law enforcement partners to identify and disrupt transnational cybercrime organizations, such as the Infraud Organization,” the interim US attorney for Nevada, Dayle Elieson, said on a conference call with journalists. Suspects being charged as a result of the Operation Shadow Web investigation are being prosecuted in Nevada. US Attorney Dayle Elieson said that the prosecution is taking place in Nevada, “because a certain level of investigative expertise has been developed in this district.” Fifty-five people were previously prosecuted by the federal government in relation to another carding forum, known as carder.su.
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Operation Shadow Web Carding Forum Investigation Results in 36 Arrests