A malware author pleaded guilty for his involvement in Infraud, a transnational cybercriminal organization that victimized millions of businesses and consumers across the United States.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said Valerian Chiochiu also known as “Onassis,” “Flagler,” “Socrate,” and “Eclessiastes,” pleaded guilty to conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Chiochiu is a member of the Infraud Organization, a cybercriminal enterprise engaged in a large-scale acquisition, sale, and dissemination of stolen identities, compromised debit and credit cards, personally identifiable information, financial and banking information, computer malware, and other contraband. Infraud was responsible for more than $568 million in losses.
He is the second member of Infraud to plead guilty. The cybercriminal organization’s founder and administrator Sergey Medvedev, a Russian, pleaded guilty on June 26.
According to the Justice Department, Chiochiu is a citizen of the Republic of Moldova but he was residing in the United States when he participated in the conspiracy.
Chiochiu provided instructions to other Infraud members regarding the development, deployment, and use of malware to harvest stolen data. He admitted to authoring FastPOS, a strain of malware designed to breach computers processing payment card data from Point-of-Sale (POS) systems.
In February 2018, U.S. authorities seized and took down Infraud and arrested 13 of its members including Medvedev and Chiochiu. A grand jury in Las Vegas, Nevada, indicted them on racketeering conspiracy and other crimes.
DOJ is “committed to unmasking cybercriminals”
In a statement, DOJ Criminal Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt said, “Over the course of seven years, Infraud and its alleged conspirators created a sophisticated cybercriminal racketeering scheme that victimized individuals, merchants, and financial institutions to the tune of over half a billion dollars in losses. The Justice Department is committed to unmasking cybercriminals and their criminal organizations that use the internet for fraudulent schemes.”
Francisco Burrola, Special Agent for the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Las Vegas Office, said, “While criminal operators may continue to grow the reach of their criminal activity, ultimately they do not escape the reach of law enforcement. We continue to investigate, disrupt, and dismantle hidden illegal networks that pose a threat in cyberspace.”
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