Vitaly Korchevsky, a pastor charged by federal prosecutors as "the linchpin of a sprawling financial and hacking conspiracy," is free on $2 million bail following a hearing on Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie said he was persuaded to release the 50-year-old pastor of the Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Pa., after a show of faith by 80 supporters who convinced the judge of the defendant's strong community and religious ties.
Korchevsky has pleaded not guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud conspiracy, securities fraud and money laundering conspiracy. He, along with nine others, allegedly hacked into the computer systems of Marketwired, PR Newswire and Business Wire to access corporate press releases before they were made public to glean earnings, gross margins, revenues and other proprietary financial information, and then passed the data to associates in America and Ukraine, who allegedly parlayed the inside information to trade shares of dozens of companies.
The group – along with eight other men in a parallel lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – is said to have netted $100 million, with Korchevsky reportedly raking in $17.5 million. The case, which is being handled by prosecutors in Brooklyn and New Jersey, as well as the SEC, is said by officials to be the most extensive alliance between hackers and traders using insider information.
Following his release, Korchevsky was required to pay a $200,000 cash deposit, hand in his passport, agree to wear an ankle bracelet for location monitoring and restrict his movements to areas in Pennsylvania and New York.
Along with a wife and two children, Korchevsky is a resident of Glen Mills, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. He earned an MBA from the Pat Robertson-founded Regent University before pursuing asset management. He was a vice president at Morgan Stanley before starting his own hedge fund, NTS Capital Fund. He has been a senior pastor since his church was founded in 2003, as well as chairman of an alliance of 28 churches with 4,000 members.