U.S. announces takedown of global cyber theft ring

Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu 29 is wanted on behalf of US authorities for allegedly being a member of the Infraud Organisation

Law enforcement agents arrested 13 suspects in the US and six other nations, including Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Kosovo and Serbia.

The accused were members of the transnational group the Infraud Organization that went by the slogan "In Fraud We Trust" and engaged in criminal activities including identity theft, bank fraud, wire fraud and computer crimes, USA authorities say.

The indictment said that among the stolen items advertised were 795,000 HSBC bank logins, dozens of PayPal logins and credentials, and credit card numbers.

The alleged cyber criminal from Britain, who used aliases including "Aslike1", "Aslike", "Moneymafia" and "Shilonng", could face up to 20 years in a USA jail if he is extradited, the country's authorities say.

The indictment unsealed in Nevada marks the first time the Justice Department has arrested anyone in connection with Infraud, which Mr Rybecki called one of the largest global cybercrime rings.

The alleged Infraud members face 20 years in prison on charges including racketeering and conspiracy.

According to the indictment, Infraud members held defined roles within the organisation's hierarchy.

Along with Bondarenko, those arrested included a number of moderators for the forum, along with vendors and "VIP members", although the overall number arrested was only a small percentage of the forum's estimated 11,000-plus members.

The group is charged with defrauding over $530 million from victims and $2.2 billion in losses, with the majority coming from crimes tied to identity fraud.

In terms of scale of money stolen and worldwide reach, the DOJ said Infraud is among the biggest in the world.

Members of the group would then use the forum on the dark web - part of the internet often used for illegal activity - to gather information and facilitate the sale of the stolen data, officials said. It had 10,901 approved "members" registered to buy and sell with them in early 2017, and maintained a rating and feedback system for members.

Those arrested stand accused of multiple crimes including identity theft, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

"This case reflects the alarming and increasing threat posed by cybercrime", Mr Rybicki said.

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