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Man pleads guilty to conspiracy in $530M cybercrime ring

Updated July 31, 2020 - 3:24 pm

The creator of a “malicious computer software” program pleaded guilty in Las Vegas on Friday for his role in a global cybercrime organization that allegedly defrauded people of more than $530 million, the Justice Department announced.

Valerian Chiochiu, 30, of Moldova, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, according to a news release.

Choichiu, who also went by the names “Onassis,” “Flagler,” “Socrate” and “Eclessiastes,” was a member of the Infraud Organization, “an internet-based cybercriminal enterprise,” according to a news release. Members of the organization allegedly participated in the dissemination of stolen identities and compromised debit and credit cards, personal identifiable information, banking information and computer malware, it said.

Chiochiu, who lived in the U.S. during the “period of conspiracy,” pleaded guilty just over a month after the co-founder of Infraud, Sergey Medvedev of Russia, pleaded guilty in Las Vegas.

After a Henderson-based investigation, federal officials announced in early 2018 that charges had been filed against 36 people from 17 countries who were accused of being members of Infraud, which used the slogan “In Fraud We Trust.”

According to court documents, Infraud was created in October 2010 by Medvedev and 34-year-old Svyatoslav Bondarenko of Ukraine. The goal was to make Infraud a “premier destination for ‘carding,’ ” or purchasing items online with counterfeit or stolen credit card information, the release said.

Bondarenko remains a fugitive, the Justice Department said Friday.

In March 2017, there were 10,901 registered members of Infraud, the release said. The organization affected more than 9,000 people, according to the Justice Department.

Chiochiu was accused of providing guidance to other members on developing and using malware to harvest stolen data. As part of a plea agreement, Chiochiu admitted to authoring a strain of malware known as “FastPOS,” the release said.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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