Bank Fraud Ringleader gets 15-Year Sentence
10 Co-Conspirators Also Sentenced in ID Thefts at Healthcare Facilities, Other Sites
Sep 28, 2015 - "The leader of a $24 million identity theft and federal income tax refund fraud ring, which stole information from a military hospital, the Alabama Department of Public Health and others, has been sentenced to serve 15 years in prison and pay nearly $6 million in restitution. Keshia Lanier of Newnan, Ga., was sentenced Sept. 25 by a U.S. District Court judge in the Southern District of Alabama. Lanier pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, says Michael Boteler, an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice involved in the prosecution, who declined to elaborate on the case. Besides Lanier, 10 other co-conspirators have been sentenced for related crimes, with prison terms of as long as 13 years... Some legal experts says the ID theft and tax fraud ring case should put other potential fraudsters on alert... Healthcare entities and government agencies, such as public health departments, need to be proactive in efforts to fight ID theft and fraud crimes involving insiders... Among others involved in the crime ring who've been sentenced is Tracy Mitchell, a former worker at a military hospital in Fort Benning, Ga., where prosecutors say she had access to the identification data of military personnel, including soldiers who were deployed to Afghanistan. Mitchell stole the personal information of soldiers and used that information to file false tax returns, prosecutors say... Between January 2011 and December 2013, Lanier and Mitchell led a large-scale identity theft ring in which Lanier, Mitchell and their co-defendants filed more than 9,000 false individual federal income tax returns that claimed more than $24 million in fraudulent claims for tax refunds, according to information provided in court documents and at the sentencing hearings. The IRS paid out close to $10 million in refunds based on these fraudulent claims... In August, Mitchell was sentenced to serve more than 13 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false tax claims, one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. She was also ordered to pay a penalty of more than $300,000...
Others who were sentenced earlier this year for crimes related to the ID theft and tax refund fraud ring include:
Talarius Paige of Phenix City, Ala., who was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $760,000 in restitution;
Tamaica Hoskins of Phenix City, 12 years in prison and nearly $1.1 million in restitution;
Mequetta Snell-Quick of Columbus, Ga., two years in prison and nearly $200,000 in restitution;
Latasha Mitchell of Phenix City, 36 months in prison and more than $500,000 in restitution;
Dameisha Mitchell of Phenix City, 65 months in prison and more than $440,000 in restitution;
Sharonda Johnson of Phenix City, two years in prison and $440,000 in restitution;
Patrice Taylor of Midland, Ga., one year in prison and nearly $29,000 in restitution;
Cynthia Johnson of Phenix City, two years of probation and $5,000 in restitution."
Sep 25, 2015
Russian sentenced to 4-1/2 years for 'Citadel' malware
Sep 29, 2015 - "A Russian national was sentenced on Tuesday to 4-1/2 years in U.S. prison for using sophisticated malware known as "Citadel" to steal banking information from thousands of computers, authorities said. Dimitry Belorossov, 22, of St. Petersburg, had pleaded guilty in July 2014 to one count of conspiring to commit computer fraud for his role in a $500 million global cyber crime scheme that infected more than 11 million computers worldwide. U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash in Atlanta imposed the sentence, which also requires Belorossov to pay more than $320,000 in restitution... Belorossov could be released in a little more than a year after getting credit for the time he has already spent in custody, Bukh said in an email... Citadel, which first appeared in 2011, was designed to capture banking and credit card information from computers and had the ability to -block- antivirus software. Criminals installed the malware through malicious attachments contained in spam emails and other means. Belorossov, who used the online alias "Rainerfox," downloaded one version of Citadel in 2012 and eventually gained access to more than 7,000 computer systems, U.S. authorities said. Microsoft Corp and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with authorities in dozens of countries, launched an assault in 2013 on the malicious computer networks that were used by the Citadel gang. The company said the attack had freed as many as five million personal computers from the malware. The global crime ring was believed to have -stolen- more than $500 million from dozens of financial institutions, including American Express Co, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse AG, PayPal Holdings Inc, HSBC Holdings PLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Royal Bank of Canada and Wells Fargo & Co, Microsoft said in 2013. Belorossov was extradited from Spain in 2014."
Sep 29, 2015 - "Dimitry Belorossov, a/k/a Rainerfox, has been sentenced to four years, six months in prison following his guilty plea for conspiring to commit computer fraud. Belorossov distributed and installed Citadel, a sophisticated malware that infected over 11 million computers worldwide, onto victim computers using a variety of infection methods... charges and other information presented in court: In late 2011, a malicious software toolkit named “Citadel” began appearing for sale on invite-only Internet website forums frequented by cybercriminals. Citadel was a sophisticated form of malware known as a “banking Trojan” designed to steal online banking credentials, credit card information, personally identifiable information, and, ultimately, funds through unauthorized electronic transfers. Citadel electronically infected the computers of unsuspecting individuals and financial institutions, creating “bots,” which cybercriminals, such as Belorossov, then remotely accessed and controlled. Cybercriminals, including Belorossov, distributed and installed Citadel onto victim computers through a variety of infection methods, including malicious attachments to spam emails and commercial Internet ads containing malware or links to malware. Since 2011, multiple versions of Citadel have been distributed and operated throughout the world. Citadel became one of the most advanced crimeware tools available in the underground market, as it had the capability, among other things, to block antivirus sites on infected computers. According to industry estimates, Citadel, and other botnets like it, infected approximately 11 million computers worldwide and are responsible for over $500 million in losses... Belorossov, 22, of St. Petersburg, Russia, has been sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr., to four years, six months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $322,409.09. Belorossov was convicted on July 18, 2014, after he pleaded guilty..."