Two Arrested as Feds Bust Bitcoin Exchange

MANHATTAN (CN) – Taking down an underground Bitcoin exchange, federal prosecutors unsealed charges against two Florida men who allegedly profited off the victims of ransomware cyberattacks.
     Anthony Murgio and Yuri Lebedev have been charged under seal in New York since Friday for operating Coin.mx, an underground website that allegedly exchanged at least $1.8 million in Bitcoins for tens of thousands of customers.
     Authorities arrested the men in their Florida homes on Tuesday, paving the way for their prosecution in the Sunshine State.
     Some of Coin.mx’s clientele allegedly came to the website to pay Bitcoin ransoms from the distributors of CryptoWall, a form of malware that the FBI recently called the “most current and significant ransomware threat targeting U.S. individuals and businesses” since April 2014.
     The software works by encrypting an infected computer until the user pays a fee typically estimated between $200 and $10,000.
     The FBI’s crime complaint center reported in June that it received 992 complaints from people reporting more than $18 million in losses.
      One of the victims of software is quoted in Murgio’s complaint as telling a Coin.mx employee seeking advice on how to “pay the stupid cryptowall ransomware.”
     “Ok please don’t say anymore [sic] about that because then we cannot help you,” the employee replied, according to the complaint.
     Prosecutors claim that Murgio “knowingly enabled” the cybercriminals behind these attacks, and that federal law required him to file a suspicious activity report.
     In order to land accounts at two major banks, Murgio and Lebedev created a front company called the “Collectables Club,” which supposedly traded cars, coins, stamps, sports memorabilia, music instruments and other items, according to their complaints.
     They later installed themselves on the board of directors of a small New Jersey credit union that catered to low-income residents as a “captive bank for their unlawful business,” prosecutors say.
     Lebedev, 37, could serve up to five years in prison for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
     Murgio, 31, faces a possible 30-year sentence for that count, money laundering and failure to file a suspicious activity report.

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