Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment, arrest and extradition of VIATCHESLAV VASILYEV and VLADIMIR KRAMARENKO

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment, arrest and extradition of VIATCHESLAV VASILYEV and VLADIMIR KRAMARENKO for global trafficking in stolen credit card account numbers, cybercrime, and identity theft. Mr. Morgenthau also announced the unsealing of an indictment as to three additional co-defendants - EGOR SHEVELEV, DZIMITRY BURAK and OLEG KOVELIN. The indictment is the product of a joint investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Secret Service.

The defendants in custody in New York, VASILYEV and KRAMARENKO, were indicted on charges of enterprise corruption, grand larceny, money laundering, criminal possession of stolen property, scheme to defraud, and conspiracy. SHEVELEV, who faces similar charges, is awaiting extradition from Greece. The unapprehended individuals, BURAK and KOVELIN, were also indicted on like charges. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between November 2001 and August 2007.

Today’s announcement marks the third major phase in a joint four-year investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Identity Theft Unit and the United States Secret Service. In total, a 173-count indictment charges seventeen individuals and a corporation. The indictment initially was announced in November 2007 in conjunction with the arrest of several defendants in the United States. Previously, the indictment had been sealed as to the five defendants named above, all of whom reside in other countries.

The indictment charges that from 2001 through 2007, the defendants participated in a multi-national, Internet-based criminal enterprise - the "Western Express Cybercrime Group” - dedicated to trafficking in stolen credit card numbers and other personal identifiers. The group realized millions in illicit profits from the sale and fraudulent use of this personal data, with some members of the enterprise laundering these profits in a variety of high-tech ways. At the hub of this group was Western Express International, Inc., a corporation in New York County that coordinated and facilitated the Internet payment methods used by the criminal enterprise to purchase the stolen information, and launder the criminal proceeds earned.

The Western Express Cybercrime Group carried out its criminal operations through a structure consisting of vendors, buyers, cybercrime services providers, and money movers. The vendors were individuals who sold large volumes of stolen credit card numbers and other personal identifying information through the Internet. The buyers used the Internet to purchase that information from the vendors, for the purpose of committing additional crimes such as larceny and identity theft. The cybercrime services providers promoted, facilitated, and aided in the purchase, sale and fraudulent use of stolen credit card numbers and other personal identifying information through various computer services that they provided to the vendors and the buyers. Finally, other defendants operated as money movers. Those defendants provided financial services and conducted financial transactions for other participants in the criminal enterprise in order to move funds and launder the proceeds of criminal activity. The money movers relied on anonymous digital currencies, such as Egold and Webmoney, to buy, sell, and launder the proceeds of criminal transactions, and conducted their business online, using Web sites, instant messaging, and email. Some of the defendants charged in the indictment played more than one role.

Those involved in the Western Express Cybercrime Group interacted and communicated through carding Web sites – that is, Web sites devoted to trafficking in stolen credit card and personal identifying information. They relied on the use of nicknames, false identities, anonymous instant messenger accounts, anonymous email accounts, and anonymous digital currency accounts to conceal the existence and purpose of the criminal enterprise, to avoid detection by law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and to maintain their anonymity.

The Western Express Cybercrime Group is responsible for over $4 million worth of identified credit card fraud, and trafficked in well over 95,000 stolen credit card numbers. These figures reflect the levels of fraud and stolen credit numbers which have been identified thus far.

All of the defendants were indicted on charges of Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison; two counts of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison; and one count of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail.

Defendants VIATCHESLAV VASILYEV, a/k/a “Viatcheslav Vasiilyev,” a/k/a “TheViver,” and VLADIMIR KRAMARENKO, a/k/a “Inexwor,” a/k/a “Envisor,” were buyers who purchased stolen credit card account numbers and other personal identifying information from vendors, often using digital currencies, for the purpose of committing larcenies and identity theft. These defendants established a sophisticated network in order to purchase merchandise through the internet with stolen credit card information. Part of their scheme involved a Web site named Elgouna Ltd., which recruited individuals who would unwittingly sell stolen merchandise through Ebay. These defendants earned proceeds through digital currency, and used the services of money movers such as Western Express International, Inc. to move, conceal and layer their digital currency criminal proceeds.

VASILYEV has been indicted on an additional twenty-six counts, including Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, a class C felony, which is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison; Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a class C felony; Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison; Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, which is punishable by up to four years in prison; and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. Specifically, VASILYEV possessed over 1,000 stolen credit card account numbers, and laundered over $100,000 in digital currency criminal proceeds through Western Express International, Inc.

KRAMARENKO was additionally indicted on sixteen counts, including Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a class C felony, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, a class D felony, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. Specifically, KRAMARENKO possessed stolen credit card account numbers, and laundered over $100,000 in digital currency criminal proceeds through Western Express International, Inc.

VASILYEV and KRAMARENKO were arrested simultaneously at their residences in Prague, Czech Republic on July 30, 2008, pursuant to an international extradition request on this case. Simultaneously, Czech authorities executed a search warrant at both of their residences. They were held in custody in the Czech Republic until their extradition last week.

Defendant EGOR SHEVELEV, a/k/a “Eskalibur,” a/k/a "Esk," was a vendor of stolen credit card account numbers and other personal identifying information who operated out of Kiev, Ukraine. SHEVELEV sold to buyers, often receiving funds through Egold digital currency. The buyers used this stolen information for the purpose of committing larcenies and identity theft. SHEVELEV used the services of money movers such as Western Express International, Inc. to move, conceal and layer his digital currency criminal proceeds. Specifically, SHEVELEV used Western Express to launder and convert over $600,000 in Egold digital currency criminal proceeds into Webmoney digital currency. SHEVELEV possessed over 75,000 stolen credit card account numbers, and laundered over $600,000 in digital currency criminal proceeds through Western Express International, Inc.

SHEVELEV was apprehended on May 10, 2008 while vacationing in Greece, pursuant to an international arrest request issued in connection with this case. Shortly thereafter, Ukraine authorities executed a search warrant at his residence in Kiev, Ukraine. SHEVELEV is being held by Greek authorities pending extradition to New York State.

SHEVELEV has been indicted on an additional fifty-seven counts, including Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree, a class B felony, Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a class C felony, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, and Attempted Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, a class E felony.

The remaining two defendants have not yet been apprehended. Defendant DZIMITRY BURAK, a/k/a “Graph,” a/k/a “Leon Kurochkin,” is a vendor who sold stolen credit card account numbers and other personal identifying information. An international arrest request has been issued. BURAK is also the subject of separate federal charges, which were publicized by federal authorities last year. BURAK is charged with possessing over 9,000 stolen credit card numbers, and laundering over $40,000 in digital currency criminal proceeds through Western Express International, Inc. BURAK was also a cybercrime services provider, in that he operated the online criminal forum Dumpsmarket, where individuals could meet to traffic in stolen personal information.

BURAK has been indicted on an additional twenty-two counts, including Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree.

Defendant OLEG KOVELIN, a/k/a “Oleg Covelin,” a/k/a “DoZ," is a cybercrime services provider. Kovelin’s cybercrimes include hacking (unauthorized intrusions into another’s computer network), account takeover (taking control of a victim’s financial or internet account), spamming and phishing (sending fraudulent emails to induce the recipient to provide personal information).

KOVELIN has been indicted on an additional two counts of Money Laundering in the Second Degree. Specifically, KOVELIN laundered over $100,000 in digital currency criminal proceeds through Western Express International, Inc. An international arrest request has been issued.

VASILYEV and KRAMARENKO are scheduled to be arraigned today in State Supreme Court, Part 42. The investigation is continuing.

Mr. Morgenthau thanked Special Agent-in-Charge Brian Parr of the United States Secret Service's New York Field Office, agents of the New York/New Jersey Electronic Crimes Task Force, and Secret Service agents around the United States and the world who conducted the investigation and coordinated international law enforcement activities.

Mr. Morgenthau thanked Special Agent-in-Charge John Gilbride of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division, and DEA agents around the world who assisted in the investigation.

Mr. Morgenthau thanked the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, and the Ministries of Justice, Prosecutor’s Offices, and law enforcement agencies in the Czech Republic, Greece, and Ukraine, and the United States Marshals Service, for assisting in the investigation, apprehension, and extradition.

Assistant District Attorney John Bandler presented the case to the grand jury under the supervision of Identity Theft Unit Chief Antonia Merzon. Investigative Analysts Nicolette Endara, Sarah Briglia, and former analyst Bridget Mahoney, of the Identity Theft Unit, and Benjamin Pred, of Investigation Division Central also participated in the investigation. Trial Preparation Assistant Brittany McGrath and Analyst Christos Hilas of Trial Bureau 70 also participated in the investigation. Investigators from the District Attorneys Investigation Bureau, including lead Senior Investigator Michael Wigdor, Investigator Santiago Batista, and others working under the supervision of Senior Supervising Investigator Steve McCallion and Deputy Chief Investigator Thomas Jackson participated in the investigation. The District Attorney’s Investigation Bureau is headed by Chief Joseph Pennisi.

Defendant Information:

VIATCHESLAV VASILYEV, a/k/a “Viatcheslav Vasiilyev,” a/k/a “TheViver,” 5/13/1976
Residence: Czech Republic
Citizenship: Russia
Apprehended in the Czech Republic on July 30, 2008.

VLADIMIR KRAMARENKO, a/k/a “Inexwor,” a/k/a “Envisor,” 9/21/77
Residence: Czech Republic
Citizenship: Moldova
Apprehended in the Czech Republic on July 30, 2008.

EGOR SHEVELEV, a/k/a “Eskalibur” a/k/a "Esk,” 2/25/86
Residence: Ukraine
Citizenship: Ukraine
Apprehended in Greece on May 10, 2008. In custody in Greece awaiting extradition.

DZIMITRY BURAK, a/k/a “Graph,” a/k/a “Leon Kurochkin,” 11/13/1982
Last Known Residence: Ukraine
Citizenship: Belarus
AT LARGE

OLEG KOVELIN, a/k/a “Oleg Covelin,” a/k/a “DoZ," 9/18/1980
Last Known Residence: Moldova
Citizenship: Moldova
AT LARGE

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