Russian Citizen Sentenced to Prison for Running Websites Aimed at Fraud and Illegal Cyber Activities

Aleksei Burkov, 30, a Russian national, was found guilty of running two websites that engaged in several fraudulent activities

A 30-year-old Russian citizen was sentenced on Friday to nine years in prison for operating two websites that aimed to facilitate payment card fraud, computer hacking, and other crimes. According to court records, Aleksei Burkov operated a website known as 'Cardplanet', which dealt with the sales of payment card numbers such as those of credit and debit cards.

The numbers were mostly stolen through means such as computer intrusions which led to the victimization of thousands of people. Several of the cards made available for sale belonged to US citizens and resulted in fraudulent purchases amounting to over $20 million.

Running a Cybercrime Forum

In addition to 'Cardplanet', Burkov also operated another website that was an invite-only club. The website served as a forum for elite cybercriminals to advertise stolen goods such as malicious software and personal identifying information. The so-called 'elite customers' could also market criminal services such as hacking and money laundering.

Money laundering
Representational Picture Pixabay

The criteria to secure membership in Burkov's cybercrime forum was simple. A prospective member required three existing members to "vouch" for their outstanding reputation among cybercriminals, and providing an insurance sum of usually $5,000. Primarily, the measures were employed to prevent law enforcement from gaining entry into Burkov's platform and ensuring that members honored deals made on it.

Arrest and Plea

In December 2015, Burkov was arrested in Israel at Ben -Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. His extradition was approved in 2017 by an Israeli district court. Following, denied appeals at the Israeli Supreme Court and the Israeli High Court of Justice, Burkov was extradited to the US on 11 November.

On 23 January 2020, the Russian pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud. In addition to this, he also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, identity theft, computer intrusions, wire fraud, and money laundering.

This article was first published on June 27, 2020