Ukrainian Cyber Crook Receives 18 Year Prison Sentence in US

WASHINGTON, December 14 (RIA Novosti) – A Ukrainian cybercriminal has been sentenced to 18 years in a US prison for his role in co-founding CarderPlanet, a prominent online marketplace for trading in stolen credit card information and other financial data, the US Justice Department announced.

Roman Vega, 49, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn after spending 10 years in custody as his case worked its way through courts in Cyprus, where he was first arrested in 2003, before being extradited to the United States a year later.

“Vega helped create one of the largest and most sophisticated credit card fraud sites in the cybercrime underworld – a distinction that has earned him the substantial sentence he received today,” acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement.

CarderPlanet, which enabled cybercriminals to buy and sell stolen financial data, once had 6,000 members and “became one of the first and busiest online marketplaces for the sale of stolen financial information, computer hacking services and money laundering,” according to the Justice Department.

It also had a hierarchical leadership structure that borrowed titles from the Italian mafia. The site was overseen by a “godfather,” below whom were “dons” and “consiglieres” or “advisers.” Vega was a “don,” but also served as a “consigliere,” US authorities said.

It seems, however, that there was honor among thieves.

Vega told US authorities that he “instituted rules and imposed order among the carders, and that he encouraged carders to institute a type of peer review system to prevent fraud among carders,” reported Thursday, citing an October 3 court filing by prosecutors.

The result, according to the Justice Department, was that “Vega and his co-conspirators thus created an efficient and trustworthy online marketplace for the buyers and sellers of stolen financial information not unlike legitimate e-commerce sites.”

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