April 18, 2012 - 22:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A Russian national living in New York has been charged in connection with hacking into customer brokerage accounts and stealing $1 million, officials said, according to AFP.
The Justice Department said charges filed Tuesday, April 17 named Petr Murmylyuk, also known as Dmitry Tokar, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, unauthorized access to computers, and securities fraud.
According to prosecutors Murmylyuk starting in late 2010 worked with others to steal from online trading accounts at Scottrade, ETrade, Fidelity, Schwab, and other brokerage firms.
"Members of the ring first gained unauthorized access to the online accounts and changed the phone numbers and e-mail addresses on file to prevent notice of unauthorized trading from going to the victims," according to a Justice Department statement.
Once the hackers controlled the accounts, and set up "unprofitable and illogical securities trades" to benefit the hackers, the statement said.
In some cases, the scheme sold options contracts, then repurchased the same contracts back minutes later for up to nine times the price.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a parallel civil case in an effort to recover the funds.
"Hackers continue to find new and advanced ways to steal from the financial sector," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilmore Childers.
"Through the illusion of legitimacy, these alleged hackers controlled both sides of securities transactions to game the market and drain their victims' accounts. Those who use their computer skills for fraud underestimate the combined resolve of law enforcement and the financial services industry to detect and stop these crimes."