Ukranian-Led Cybertheft Ring Busted, Six East Coast Residents Arrested

WASHINGTON, DC -- Six East Coast residents are accused of being part of an eight-member ring of cyberthieves who aimed to steal over $15 million USD by hacking into financial institutions and the U.S. Military's payroll service.

Robert Dubuc

The pair that organized the ring lives in Russia and Ukraine.

The sophisticated ring reportedly began their attacks by gaining access to secured networks at the target institutions then identifying digital account information and ordering small transfers to debit cards controlled by the cyberthieves (a practice commonly known as "skimming").

The cyberthieves then sought to double their score by ordering replacement Social Security Cards in the names of the victims and filing falsified tax returns in their names with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seeking refunds.

Targeted financial institutions included JPMorgan Chase & Comp. (JPM), Citibank, N.A., and eBay, Inc.'s (EBAY) PayPal.

The suspects reportedly organized crews of "cashers" in New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Illinois, and elsewhere to withdraw stolen funds from the debit accounts. 

Some of the money was then wired to the organizers in Ukraine.

The first suspect in the case is Robert Dubuc of Malden, Mass., 40.

Mr. Dubuc is a veteran of the 534th MP Company, which was stationed at the Panama Canal, according to his Facebook profile page.

He allegedly served as a crew manager for the operation.

Mr. Dubuc's accused underling was Lamar Taylor, 37, of Salem, Mass.

Mr. Taylor is at large.

Oleg Pidtergerya, 49, of Brooklyn, New York is the second accused crew leader. 

Richard Gunderson, 46, was an underling of Mr. Pidtergerya in Brooklyn.

Mr. Gunderson is currently at large.

The third accused crew leader, Andrey Yarmolitskiy, resided in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Andrey Yarmolitskiy, 41, managed his crew of cashers in the southern state.

His Facebook profile lists his hometown as Odessa, Ukraine.

A sixth man -- Ilya Ostapyuk, 31 -- of Brooklyn is accused of helping move the proceeds of the fraud scheme.

He appears to also be from Ukraine.

The scheme was allegedly organized by Oleksiy Sharapka, 33, of Kiev, Ukraine, who had just been released in 2012 from a 102-month (8 and 1/2 year) prison stay for a digital ATM theft scheme in the Massachusetts area.

Following the release he was deported, but that didn't stop him from using his contacts to establish a new cybercrime ring.

Leonid Yanovitsky, 38, of Kiev is also accused of helping the scheme.

Both Kiev residents are currently at large, according to local authorities.

The accused U.S. crew leaders are being charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit identity theft.

Wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years, money laundering carries a 20 year maximum sentence, and identity theft carries a maximum 15 year sentence.

Source: Department of Defense