The FBI has charged a former JP Morgan employee with selling customer information to thieves who wanted to empty accounts without triggering any alarms.
Unsealed court records [PDF] recount that Peter Persaud, who worked at JP Morgan's Brooklyn branch, contacted an undercover FBI informant, and allegedly offered to sell him the account details of a customer. For $2,500, Persaud offered the account's number and PIN, along with the customer's identifying information so withdrawals could be made, it is claimed.
According to the documents, filed in New York's eastern district court, the informant met Persaud last November and handed over the cash, after which the bank employee handed over a sheet of paper with the account details, including the account holder's address, social security number, date of birth, debit card number, and its three-digit security code. The two agreed to drain the account with a series of transfers, we're told.
The following month the two met up again, this time in Persaud's car outside his bank office, and a second customer's details were sold for an additional $2,500, with more to come once the victim's account had been emptied, it is alleged. Unfortunately for Persaud, the informant was wearing a wire and the entire conversation was recorded, the court was told.
For additional evidence, the informant phoned Persaud at his home number to check some of the account details, claiming the PIN was wrong. Persaud confirmed the information and details of the transaction, unaware the call was being tracked and recorded, it is claimed.
On New Year's Eve, Persaud met the informant again and sold him another client's account details, the FBI says. Two weeks later, Persaud was persuaded to meet the informant and a man introduced as an underworld boss, although he was in fact an undercover FBI agent serving the agency's financial cybercrime unit CY-6.
The g-man agreed to buy more account data over the next few months, but the scam stopped in February when Persaud was suspended from the bank temporarily, it is alleged. Persaud complained to the FBI agent that he wouldn’t be able to get any more account details for the meantime, we're told.
Once the suspension had ended, Persaud offered to sell a larger number of accounts in exchange for a greater reward, the Feds say. In March, he reportedly offered four accounts, with a combined balance of about $150,000 in exchange for between $16,000 and $17,000, and at this point the FBI swooped in for an arrest.
Persaud now faces trial, and was due to appear at a bail hearing today in Brooklyn.
It appears from the affidavit that Persaud wasn't hacking accounts, merely noting down the details of high-value customers and passing them on. But the case shows that the old security adage is true – watch your perimeter closely but your staff even closer. ®