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Bitcoin Fog Mixer Operator Faces Decades In Prison For Laundering $400M

Read also: A LockBit affiliate sentenced in Canada, a scammer gets 10 years for leading a massive credit card fraud ring, and more.

Thursday, March 14, 2024
Views: 4.7k Read Time: 3 min.

Bitcoin Fog Mixer Operator Faces Decades In Prison For Laundering $400M

Bitcoin Fog mixer operator faces decades in prison for laundering $400M

A United States court has convicted Roman Sterlingov, a citizen of both Russia and Sweden, for his role in managing Bitcoin Fog, the longest-running cryptocurrency mixer operating on the Dark Web.

Sterlingov has been found guilty of orchestrating a money laundering scheme that enabled the laundering of approximately $400 million worth of cryptocurrency over the course of a decade, spanning from 2011 to 2021. The crypto mixer facilitated the transfer of more than 1.2 million bitcoins (worth about $400 million at the time of transactions) obtained through illegal activities, including drug trafficking, cybercrimes, identity theft, and the distribution of child pornography. A large portion of cryptocurrency stemmed from Dark Web markets, prosecutors said.

Sterlingov has been convicted on multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering and conducting undercover money laundering operations, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment.

He has also been found guilty of operating an unlicensed money transmitting enterprise and engaging in money transmitting without a license, with each offense carrying a maximum penalty of five years' incarceration.

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A LockBit affiliate jailed in Canada, faces trial in the US

Mikhail Vasiliev, a Russian-Canadian individual identified as an affiliate of the LockBit ransomware group, has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison in Canada for his involvement in orchestrating over a thousand cyber-attacks, which purportedly amassed more than $100 million in ransom.

Vasiliev is said to have played a significant role in cyber extortion activities aimed at businesses across several Canadian provinces, including Saskatchewan, Montreal, and Newfoundland.

Vasiliev, who was arrested nearly a year and a half ago, admitted guilt to eight charges, including cyber extortion, weapons-related offenses, and affiliation with the cybercrime syndicate.

Alongside the prison sentence, he has been ordered to pay restitution amounting to $860,000. Additionally, he faces pending trial proceedings in the United States.

A scammer sentenced to nearly 10 years for leading a massive credit card fraud ring

Damier Dorsey, a US citizen, has been sentenced to 9 years and 11 months in prison for orchestrating a sophisticated credit card fraud and identity theft scheme that affected thousands of individuals and caused over $1.5 million in losses.

According to prosecutors, Dorsey and his accomplices operated a criminal enterprise that spanned several years, starting as early as 2017. The scheme involved obtaining stolen account information from underground marketplaces, such as the “BriansClub” website on the Dark Web. The perpetrators used the obtained data to make counterfeit credit cards, which they then used to buy high-value goods and lottery tickets.

Dorsey and a co-conspirator were arrested in August 2018. During searches at Dorsey’s home, the police officers found and confiscated a credit card embossing machine, numerous counterfeit credit cards, and over $23,000 in cash.

Dorsey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in September 2023.

Former telecoms company manager pleads guilty to SIM swapping scheme

Jonathan Katz, also known as ‘Luna,’ a former manager of a telecommunications company in Burlington County, New Jersey, admitted his involvement in a SIM swapping scheme that involved unauthorized SIM swaps for financial gain. Katz pleaded guilty on March 12, 2024, to charges of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a protected computer.

According to court documents, Katz used his managerial credentials to access multiple customer accounts. He then proceeded to swap the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) numbers associated with these customers' phone numbers into mobile devices controlled by another individual. This allowed cybercriminals to hijack the customers' phones and gain access to their electronic accounts, including email, social media, and cryptocurrency wallets. For his services, Katz received payment in Bitcoin.

He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if found guilty. Katz's sentencing is scheduled for July 16, 2024.

In other news, four fraudsters who defrauded Vodafone, EE, O2 and the Carphone Warehouse out of £429,304 have been sentenced to a combined 11 years in prison. As part of the scheme, the fraudsters used stolen personal data of telecom companies’ customers from all over England and Wales to take out new phone contracts and obtain expensive mobile phones and other devices such as Apple Watches and iPads.

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A Fraudster charged for buying 675 Starlink dishes with stolen credit cards

A 35-year-old New Jersey (US) resident, Kelvin Rodriguez-Moya, has been charged with allegedly using stolen credit card accounts or hacked Starlink billing accounts to purchase 675 Starlink dishes from SpaceX.

The investigation began when local police received a tip regarding an unusually large number of shipments being delivered to a residence within Lawrence Township in December. Authorities launched an inquiry into the matter, leading them to Rodriguez-Moya. During the three-month-long investigation, police observed the suspect loading numerous Starlink dishes into a vehicle.

Rodriguez-Moya was stopped by the police when he was transporting Space Starlink terminals in a pickup truck and trailer, resulting in the recovery of 223 terminals confirmed to have been stolen.

The total value of the 675 fraudulently purchased Starlink terminals is about $400,000, the police said.

What’s next:

Key Dutch has been working in information technology and cybersecurity for over 20 years, starting his first job with Windows 95 and dial-up modems. As the Editor-in-Chief of our Cybercrime Prosecution Weekly blog series, he compiles the most interesting news about police operations against cybercrime, as well as about regulatory actions enforcing data protection and privacy law.
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