NYC man gets prison for role in cybercrime ring

AP News
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Posted: Nov 21, 2014 4:09 PM

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New York City man was sentenced Friday to more than three years in prison for his role in an international cybercrime ring that prosecutors say hacked into the computers of more than a dozen financial institutions and the U.S. military's payroll service.

Richard Gundersen received a 41-month prison term and was ordered to pay $88 million in restitution. He had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud and identity theft.

The 48-year-old Brooklyn man admitted working as a "casher" for the crew. That involved opening bank accounts in the names of identity theft victims, funded by money stolen as part of the conspiracy.

Prosecutors say the scheme was led by Oleksiy Sharapka, of Kiev, Ukraine, who served an 8 1/2-year sentence in federal prison in Massachusetts for a similar scheme. Prosecutors say the current scheme began around the time Sharapka was deported in 2012. He remains at large.

Financial institutions whose computer networks were hacked were Aon Hewitt, Automated Data Processing Inc., Citibank, E-Trade, Electronic Payments Inc., Fundtech Holdings LLC, iPayment Inc., JPMorgan Chase Bank, Nordstrom Bank, PayPal, TD Ameritrade, TIAA-CREF, USAA, Veracity Payment Solutions Inc. and the payroll arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Once inside the computer networks, the conspirators sought to divert money from customer accounts to prepaid debit cards they controlled, prosecutors said. As part of the scheme, cards were obtained in the names of people whose identities had been stolen. Stolen identities were also used to file fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service seeking refunds.

The group sought to defraud the companies and their customers of $15 million, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Two other members of the group were sentenced last month.