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Illustration by Security Management

$568 Million Carding Site Operator Pleads Guilty

Sergey Medvedev, a 33-year-old Russian national, pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy in U.S. federal court for his involvement in Infraud Organization—"an Internet-based cybercriminal enterprise engaged in the 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,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) statement on Friday, 26 June.

RICO charges (under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) provides for extended criminal penalties for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization, and they are typically used to address organized crime that affects interstate commerce.

Infraud, which operated under the slogan “In Fraud We Trust,” was created in 2010 to promote and enable the purchase of retail items with counterfeit or stolen credit card information online, and it provided an escrow service to facilitate illicit digital currency transactions among members. In March 2017, DOJ reported, there were more than 10,000 registered members of the organization.

During its seven years of operations, Infraud “inflicted approximately $2.2 billion in intended losses, and more than $568 million in actual losses, on a wide swath of financial institutions, merchants, and private individuals, and would have continued to do so for the foreseeable future if left unchecked,” the DOJ release said.

Infraud was dismantled in 2018 after the DOJ announced the indictment of 36 and arrest of 13 of the organization’s affiliates. Medvedev was arrested in Thailand and later extradited to the United States, Cyberscoop reports.

Upon the news of the indictments in 2018, U.S. Acting Attorney General John Cronan said in an announcement: “Today’s indictment and arrest mark one of the largest cyberfraud enterprise prosecutions ever undertaken by the Department of Justice. As alleged in the indictment, Infraud operated like a business to facilitate cyberfraud on a global scale.”

Infraud was far from alone in its operation in trafficking credit card and financial services information (also known as carding), and international law enforcement agencies have been chasing down the ringleaders for years in multiple cases.

The operator behind the Cardplanet website, Aleksei Burkov, was sentenced on Friday to nine years in prison for facilitating payment card fraud, computer hacking, and other crimes. The stolen card data on Burkov’s site resulted in over $20 million in fraudulent purchases made using U.S. credit card accounts, a DOJ release said. Burkov pleaded guilty to charges of access device fraud and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, identity theft, wire and access fraud, and money laundering in January 2020.