Case Law Database

Cybercrime

Acts against the Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of Computer, Data and Systems

• Illegal access to a computer system
• Illegal access of computer data
• Production/ distribution/ possession of computer misuse tools
• Acquisition of computer data

Computer-related acts for personal or financial gain

• Fraud
• Forgery
• Identity offences

Keywords

• Electronic Evidence

Participation in an organized criminal group

Offences

• Agreement to commit a serious crime (conspiracy)

Degree of Involvement

• Overt act in furtherance of agreement

United States of America v. Svyatoslav Bondarenko et al., No. 2:17-CR-00306-JCM-PAL (D. Nev. Jan 30, 2018)

Fact Summary

This case involves the co-founders, administrators and members of the Infraud Organization, which was founded in 2010 and was active between 2010 and 2018. The slogan of the organization was “in fraud we trust.” The Infraud Organization operated as a criminal enterprise with its objective of financially enriching its members through cybercrimes, particularly online fraud and identity theft. The illicit acts the organization engaged in included money laundering, identity theft, counterfeit identification trafficking, bank fraud, wire fraud, among other crimes. In total, the organization caused USD 568 million in actual losses and USD 2.2 billion in intended losses. The Infraud Organization ran an online discussion forum, known as Infraud, which had over 10,000 members from around the world.

According to the Second Superseding Criminal Indictment, the roles of individuals that were part of this criminal enterprise included administrators, super moderators, moderators, vendors, VIP members, and members:

1. Administrators. Administrators were responsible for “long-term strategic planning” of the enterprise, and daily management tasks, such as determining responsibilities and levels of access of all members, vetting prospective members, deciding which members can join, and rewarding and punishing existing members.

2. Super Moderators. Super moderators were responsible for moderating content by reviewing contraband for sale, editing and deleting posts based on reviews, and mediating disputes between buyers and vendors (i.e., sellers). The content they moderated was assigned based on either geographic area or criminal expertise.

3. Moderators. Moderators have some of the same responsibilities for moderating content, but they have less privileges and authority than super moderators.

4. Vendors. Individuals who sold and/or advertised illicit goods and services on the site.

5. VIP members. VIP members were longstanding, distinguished members of the platform.

6. Members. General members of the forum.

The founders of the organization are Svyatoslav Bondarenko and Sergey Medvedev. Along with being a co-founder, Sergey Medvedev served as the administrator of the site and ran the escrow service of the organization, which held funds for a purchase in escrow until the buyer received the items purchased (in good order). He further created a virtual currency exchange service where virtual currencies were exchanged for fiat currencies, promoted, created incentives, and set prices for advertisements on Infraud. The defendant assumed leadership of the organization after Svyatoslav Bondarenko disappeared.

For quality control of contraband recovered from acts of fraud and identity theft, members provided feedback and ratings of vendors and their products. To protect individuals who are part of this criminal enterprise, measures were taken to secure the site and restrict access to the site. Svyatoslav Bondarenko established rules governing the conduct of members on Infraud and these rules were enforced by administrators, moderators, and supermoderators of the forum. Members who violated these rules were punished by, for example, being removed and banned from the site. All new members had to be vetted before being granted access to the forum.

In this case, 36 defendants were charged for their roles in the Infraud Organization. The criminal proceedings for most of these defendants are still ongoing. The defendant, one of the founders of Infraud, Sergey Medvedev, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization. The other founder, Svyatoslav Bondarenko, is still at large. Two other defendants and members of Infraud pleaded guilty to engage in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization. Firstly, Jose Gamboa became a member of Infraud in December 2010 and advertised as vendor of custom-built ATM skimmers within the Infraud forum. Secondly, Valerian Chiochiu advised other members on the development and use of malware. He also developed malware that was used by other members to gain unauthorized access to personal and financial data and access device data. The illegally obtained information would then be sold on the Infraud forum to other Infraud members. The defendant also fraudulently purchased gift cards which were then sold on the Infraud forum to members for a profit.

Author:
UNODC, with contributions from Lea Cipriano, David Olener and Anil Ramruch, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City Univeristy of New York

Cross-Cutting Issues

Liability

... for

• completed offence

... based on

• criminal intention

... as involves

• principal offender(s)
• participant, facilitator, accessory

Offending

Details

• involved an organized criminal group (Article 2(a) CTOC)
• occurred across one (or more) international borders (transnationally)
  • Involved Countries:
  • Investigation Procedure

    Involved Agencies

    • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) (Las Vegas Office)
    • Henderson Police Department (Nevada, USA)
    • Department of Justice (Office of International Affairs and International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center) (United States of America)
    • City of London Police (Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit) (United Kingdom)
    • Australian Federal Police
    • Attorney-General’s Department (Australia)
    • International Crime Cooperation Central Authority (Australia)
    • Grand Ducal Police (Luxembourg)
    • Ministry of Justice (France)
    • L’Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalité liée aux Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (France)
    • Paris Prosecutor's Office (France)
    • Italian National Police (Postal and Communications Police)
    • Interpol Rome
    • U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (Regional Security Office at U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania)
    • Interpol Tirana
    • Special Prosecution Office for High-Tech Crime of the Republic of Serbia
    • Ministry of Justice (Kosovo)
    • Basic Prosecution Office Pristina (Kosovo)

    Confiscation and Seizure

    Comments

    The three defendants that have pleaded guilty at the time of writing have agreed to forfeit proceeds of crime in their plea agreements. More specifically, Jose Gamboa agreed to forfeit USD 208,446.00; Sergey Medvedev USD 1,041,517.84; and Valerian Chiochiu USD 1,548,568.77. At the state of the proceedings at the time of writing, this would make a total of USD 2,798,532.61, however, no final forfeiture order has been issued thus far.

     

    Special investigative techniques

    • Special investigative techniques
    • Undercover operation(s)/ Assumed identities/ Infiltration

    Comments

    Undercover HIS investigators gained access to the forum and interacted with members, purchasing illicit goods and services from members of the forum.

     

    International Cooperation

    Involved Countries

    Albania

    Australia

    France

    Italy

    Luxembourg

    Serbia

    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    United States of America

    Measures

    • Mutual legal assistance
    • International law enforcement cooperation (including INTERPOL)

    Electronic Evidence

    • Electronic Evidence/Digital Evidence

    Procedural Information

    Legal System:
    Common Law
    Latest Court Ruling:
    Court of 1st Instance
    Type of Proceeding:
    Criminal
     
     
    Proceeding #1:
  • Stage:
    first trial
  • Official Case Reference:
    United States of America v. Jose Gamboa, No. 2:17-CR-306-JCM-VCF (D. Nev. Aug 20, 2019)
  • Decision Date:
    20 August 2019

    Court

    Court Title

    U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada

     

    Location

  • City/Town:
    Las Vegas
  • Province:
    Nevada
  • • Criminal

    Description

    The defendant entered into a plea agreement on 20 August 2019. At the time of writing, the defendant has not been sentenced.

     
    Proceeding #2:
  • Stage:
    first trial
  • Official Case Reference:
    United States of America v. Sergey Medvedev, No. 2:17-CR-306-JCM-VCF (D. Nev. Jun 26, 2020)
  • Court

    Court Title

    U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada

     

    Location

  • City/Town:
    Las Vegas
  • Province:
    Nevada
  • • Criminal

    Description

    The defendant entered into a plea agreement in relation to the racketeering charge on 26 June 2020. At the time of writing, the defendant has not been sentenced.

     
    Decision Date:
    26 June 2020
    Proceeding #3:
  • Stage:
    first trial
  • Official Case Reference:
    United States of America v. Valerian Chiochiu, No. 2:17-CR-00306-JCM-PAL (D. Nev. Jul 31, 2020).
  • Court

    Court Title

    U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada

     

    Location

  • City/Town:
    Las Vegas
  • Province:
    Nevada
  • • Criminal

    Description

    The defendant entered into a plea agreement on 31 July 2020. At the time of writing, the defendant has not been sentenced.

     
    Decision Date:
    31 July 2020

    Defendants / Respondents in the first instance

    Defendant:
    Svyatoslav Bondarenko
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Sergey Medvedev
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Amjad Ali
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Roland Patrick N'Djimbi Tchikaya
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Arnaldo Sanchez Torteya
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Miroslav Kovacevic
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Frederick Thomas
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Osama Abdelhamed
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Besart Hoxha
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Raihan Ahmed
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Andrey Sergeevich Novak
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Valerian Chiochiu
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    John Doe #8
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Gennaro Fioretti
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Edgar Rojas
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    John Telusma
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Rami Fawaz
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Muhammad Shiraz
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Jose Gamboa
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Alexey Klimenko
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Edward Lavoile
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Pius Sushil Wilson
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Muhammad Khan
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    John Doe #7
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    John Doe #1
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    David Jonathan Vargas
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    John Doe #2
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Marko Leopard
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Taimoor Zaman
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Aldo Ymeraj
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    John Doe #4
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Liridon Musliu
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    John Doe #5
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    Mena Mouries Abd El-Malak
    Gender:
    Male
    Defendant:
    John Doe #6
    Gender:
    Male

    Charges / Claims / Decisions

    Defendant:
    Svyatoslav Bondarenko
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Verdict:
    Guilty
    Defendant:
    Sergey Medvedev
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Verdict:
    Guilty
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(3) and 2

    Charge details:

    Possession of Fifteen or More Counterfeit and Unauthorized Access Devices (8 counts)

    The charge did not only include the possession but also aiding and abetting the possession of others.

    Verdict:
    Withdrawn
    Defendant:
    Amjad Ali
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Roland Patrick N'Djimbi Tchikaya
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Arnaldo Sanchez Torteya
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Miroslav Kovacevic
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Frederick Thomas
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Osama Abdelhamed
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Besart Hoxha
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Raihan Ahmed
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Andrey Sergeevich Novak
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(3) and 2

    Charge details:

    Possession of Fifteen or More Counterfeit and Unauthorized Access Devices (3 counts)

    The charge did not only include the possession but also aiding and abetting the possession of others.

    Defendant:
    Valerian Chiochiu
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Verdict:
    Guilty
    Defendant:
    John Doe #8
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Gennaro Fioretti
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Edgar Rojas
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    John Telusma
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Rami Fawaz
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Muhammad Shiraz
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Jose Gamboa
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Verdict:
    Guilty
    Defendant:
    Alexey Klimenko
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Edward Lavoile
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Pius Sushil Wilson
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Muhammad Khan
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    John Doe #7
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    John Doe #1
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    David Jonathan Vargas
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    John Doe #2
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Marko Leopard
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Taimoor Zaman
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Aldo Ymeraj
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    John Doe #4
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    Liridon Musliu
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(3) and 2

    Charge details:

    Possession of Fifteen or More Counterfeit and Unauthorized Access Devices (1 count)

    The charge did not only include the possession but also aiding and abetting the possession of others.

    Defendant:
    John Doe #5
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(3) and 2

    Charge details:

    Possession of Fifteen or More Counterfeit and Unauthorized Access Devices (1 count)

    The charge did not only include the possession but also aiding and abetting the possession of others.

    Defendant:
    Mena Mouries Abd El-Malak
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Defendant:
    John Doe #6
    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

    Charge details:

    Conspiracy to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization

    Legislation / Statute / Code:

    18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(3) and 2

    Charge details:

    Possession of Fifteen or More Counterfeit and Unauthorized Access Devices (3 counts)

    The charge did not only include the possession but also aiding and abetting the possession of others.

    Court

    U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada

    Sources / Citations

    United States of America v. Svyatoslav Bondarenko et al., No. 2:17-CR-00306-JCM-PAL, Second Superseding Criminal Indictment (D. Nev. Jan 30, 2018).

    United States of America v. Jose Gamboa, No. 2:17-CR-306-JCM-VCF (D. Nev. Aug 20, 2019)

    United States of America v. Sergey Medvedev, No. 2:17-CR-00306-JCM-VCF, Plea Agreement (D. Nev. Jun 26, 2020).

    United States of America v. Valerian Chiochiu, No. 2:17-CR-00306-JCM-PAL, Plea Agreement (D. Nev. Jul 31, 2020).

    U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, “Thirty-six Defendants Indicted for Alleged Roles in Transnational Criminal Organization Responsible for More than $530 Million in Losses from Cybercrimes” 7 February 2018.

    U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, “Malware Author Pleads Guilty for Role in Transnational Cybercrime Organization Responsible for more than $568 Million in Losses” 31 July 2020.