Three men have been indicted for fraud in the US over accusations they used customised Trojan horse malware to plunder online banking and brokerage accounts.
Alexander Bobnev, of Volgograd in Russia, allegedly masterminded the scam and conspired with others in Russia to create the malware. Two naturalised US citizens Aleksey Volynskiy, of Manhattan, and Alexey Mineev from Hampton, New Hampshire, allegedly handled the US end of the scam, establishing local accounts into which money could be transferred before forwarding a percentage of the illicit earnings over to Russia, according to recent indictments (PDF and PDF).
The scam ran for around 15 month up until December 2007. But starting in June last year police succeeded in using an informant from Poughkeepsie*, New York, to undermine the fraud and collect evidence. Stolen loot was routed into a drop account under federal control, allowing police to trace payments of $15,400 and $4,700 from two compromised accounts held with online broker Charles Schwab.
The Three men are each charged with fraud. Volynskiy faces additional charges of conspiring to create counterfeit credit cards, Wired reports. ®
* Poughkeepsie is most famous for a line in The French Connection, where Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle, played in an Oscar winning turn by Gene Hackman, threatens to "nail" a confused suspect for "picking your feet in Poughkeepsie". The good cop, mad cop trick Doyle played along with his detective partner, Buddy Russo, confuses a suspect into handing over the information the two detectives need.