Fifth Conviction in Russia-Based Hacking Fraud

LOS ANGELES (CN) — A Russian woman in Los Angeles pleaded guilty to using bogus debit and credit cards obtained from hacking U.S. companies with Russian help, the fifth and final defendant to plead guilty in a $5 million conspiracy that saw one company go under.

Irina Fedoseeva, 33, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to use stolen debit and credit cards, and using them to make more than $225,000 in purchases, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Fedoseeva, who faces up to 5 years in prison, also admitted in a plea deal to helping a co-defendant make purchases using the cards from stores such as Apple and Best Buy, and reselling the goods online.

According to the action U.S. attorney, hackers, some of them in Russia, breached the computer systems of three unidentified U.S. companies — an airline and two healthcare management companies — and produced the fraudulent cards sometime from 2014 to 2016.

The hackers sent the cards to the defendants, who used them to make cash withdrawals, buy money orders and make purchases at Apple, Best Buy, Home Depot and Target.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek declined in an email Tuesday to name the affected companies, which are not identified in court documents. Mrozek confirmed, however, that the conspiracy caused one of the healthcare companies to go bankrupt.

Prosecutors said the hackers breached one healthcare company’s system and ordered debit cards linked to reactivated accounts. Those cards were used to make roughly $3.5 million in purchases.

Three other defendants, also Russian nationals in the Los Angeles area, pleaded guilty on March 20 to aggravated identity theft and debit and credit card fraud.

They are Timur Safin, 29, of Burbank; Dmitry Fedoseev, 34; and Kristina Gerasimova, 22, both Los Angeles.

Siarhei Patapau, 26, a Belarussian in Los Angeles, pleaded guilty on March 6 to similar charges.

“They were part of a scheme that cost millions of dollars and further victimized people whose identities had been stolen,” Mrozek said. “These types of schemes cannot work without runners like these defendants, and we’re pleased to see them take responsibility for their criminal conduct.”

When they were arrested in 2016, Fedoseev had more than 519 stolen debit, credit and gift cards, and Patapau had roughly 525 debit and credit cards, prosecutors said.

Fedoseev, Patapau and Safin each face up to 12 years each in prison, Gerasimova up to 7 years.

The defendants will be sentenced in June and September.

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