The international crime network known as GozNym became the target of FBI agents after the group caused a total of $100 million in lost revenue and damage to 41,000 businesses around the globe. It required the coordination of agents from Europe and the U.S. to bring down the network whose members spanned multiple countries. Ten individuals are named in the indictment.
In 2016, the group attained notoriety when they raided the business accounts of online businesses. A Bulgarian by the name of Krasimir Nikolov was extradited to the U.S. and tried in Pittsburgh where he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, unauthorized use of a computer to obtain financial data, and three counts of bank fraud.
The Avalanche Network
This case is an extension of a 2016 investigation that brought down the Avalanche network. The Avalanche Network distributed malware to cybercriminals who would then target bank accounts hoping to steal money. Once the network had been dismantled by the FBI, the agents began targeting the users. Among them was Krasimir Nikolov who pleaded guilty to using the malware to steal money from the bank accounts of multiple companies.
The GozNym malware was used to capture data from online bank accounts, execute transactions, and transfer money to accounts controlled by various members of the group.
The cases bring up interesting jurisdictional questions since the crimes were committed in different countries than where the perpetrators lived. Indeed, it has required law enforcement to devise new ways of working together across borders and launch prosecutions. In the event that a criminal is not extraditable, law enforcement from various countries must share information in order to see the cybercriminals brought to justice in their own countries.
The co-conspirators have been charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. The indictment alleges that they advertised their services on Russian criminal forums and had a diverse crew with specialized roles in wire heists. Alexander Konovalov, from Georgia (the country), was the group’s alleged ringleader recruiting other members. A Ukrainian named Alexander Van Hoof established drop accounts that were used to receive stolen funds. A Moldovan named Eduard Malanici provided encryption services to the group. A Russian named Vladimir Gorin developed the malware used to execute the attacks.
The group’s victims ranged from major corporations to small businesses across both Europe and the United States. The ten men named in the indictment will face charges in their home countries.
Cybercrime Represents a Paradigm Shift for Law Enforcement
In years past, targeting cybercriminals has posed a problem for law enforcement. There’s the question of jurisdiction because you have a criminal in one country targeting a victim in another. Then there’s the question of coordinating operations between agencies in many different countries. This appears ready to become the rule, not the exception.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Cybercrime Attorney
If you’re facing charges of cybercrime, computer fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, or the unlawful use of a computer, West Palm Beach mail, bank, and wire fraud attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. can help. Talk to us today to set up an appointment.