An alleged ringleader of an international identity theft operation, arrested in April, has been extradited to face charges in the United States.
Dmitry Naskovets, 26, who allegedly operated a website for identity thieves, was extradited from the Czech Republic on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, and aggravated identity theft. His online business, CallService.biz, is implicated in enabling more than 2,000 identity thieves to exploit stolen financial information, such as credit card and debit card numbers, to commit more than 5,000 instances of fraud.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Naskovets agreed to the extradition, according to a release issued by his office.
The indictment was filed in Manhattan federal court charging that in June 2007, Naskovets and co-conspirator Sergey Semasko, both Belarusian nationals, created CallService.biz and, in exchange for a fee, provided the services of English- and German-speaking people to use stolen account and personally identifiable information to pass through security screening processes employed by financial institutions.
According to the release, people working for CallService.biz would pretend to be the authorized account holders and call financial institutions and other businesses to perpetrate fraudulent withdrawals and other account activities on behalf of the website users.
"Using information provided by the identity thieves over the website, which was hosted on a computer in Lithuania, the fraudulent callers would, among other things, confirm unauthorized withdrawals or transfers from bank accounts, unblock accounts, or change the address or phone number associated with an account so that it could be accessed by the identity thieves," the release stated.
Naskovets' website went so far as to advertise its services on other websites frequented by identity thieves, including CardingWorld.cc, which, the indictment charges, was operated by Semashko. These ads claimed the site had more than 2,090 people working with it and had already made more than 5,400 calls to banks to work around security screens and to make fraudulent transactions.
The two men were arrested on April 15 at the request of the United States – Naskovets by Czech authorities and Semashko by Belarusian authorities. The computers that hosted the website were seized by Lithuanian law enforcement authorities, and at the same time, the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized the website domain name pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Bharara said: "The extradition of Dmitry Naskovets is the result of exemplary cooperation between U.S. and international law enforcement agencies. Naskovets allegedly operated an online, one-stop-shop for identity thieves and fraudsters, aimed at compromising the security measures financial institutions use to protect their customers. We will continue to work with the FBI and our partners abroad to identify and stop cybercriminals wherever they execute their illegal trade."
He commended the FBI for its work on the investigation, and thanked the Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs, the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs, High Tech Crime Department, the Police Presidium of the Czech Republic, and the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau Cybercrime Board for their assistance.
This case is being handled by the FBI's complex frauds unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Brown and Michael Ferrara are in charge of the prosecution.
If convicted, Naskovets could be sentenced to more than 39 years in jail.