US charges Russian father, son with cyber fraud

NEW YORK, Jan 18 — A 54-year-old Russian extradited from Switzerland pleaded not guilty in a New York court yesterday to charges of hacking into brokerage accounts, trading in other people’s securities and manipulating the prices of his own stocks.

A criminal indictment against Vladimir Zdorovenin and his son Kirill charged the pair with hacking into US bank accounts from their homeland and snatching credit card numbers, allowing them to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in a swindling spree in 2004 and 2005.

The indictment, brought in Manhattan federal court in 2007 was made public only yesterday, a day after Vladimir Zdorovenin was extradited from Switzerland to New York. The Moscow native was arrested in Zurich in March, but court documents did not make clear why or for how long he had been there.

Kirill Zdorovenin remains at large, authorities said. Father and son are charged with eight counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy. Yesterday, the father pleaded not guilty to the charges through a court-appointed attorney .

The indictment accuses the Russians of devising a variety of schemes in 2004 and 2005, including stealing credit card numbers and hacking into the brokerage and other accounts of their targets in the United States.

“Mr. Zdorovenin’s egregious behaviour illustrated the true colors of the cyber underground, as he and his son allegedly defrauded consumers of hundreds of thousands of dollars using compromised credit cards, all fronted through fictitious companies they had created,” Janice Fedarcyk, the assistant director of the FBI in New York, said in a statement.

“In addition, Zdorovenin allegedly installed malware to access victims’ brokerage accounts, trading victims’ securities and manipulating the price of stocks Zdorovenin already owned,” Fedarcyk said.”

Vladimir Zdorovenin faces up to life in prison if convicted on the charges. — Reuters



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