A Russian national made his initial appearance in federal court today on charges related to his alleged operation of two websites devoted to the facilitation of payment card fraud, computer hacking, and other crimes.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Special Agent in Charge Matthew S. Miller of the U.S. Secret Service’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
Aleksei Burkov, 29, arrived at Dulles International Airport this morning after being extradited from Israel. The indictment unsealed today charges Burkov with wire fraud, access device fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud, computer intrusions, identity theft, and money laundering.
According to court documents, Burkov allegedly ran a website called “Cardplanet” that sold payment card numbers (e.g., debit and credit cards) that had been stolen primarily through computer intrusions. Many of the cards offered for sale belonged to U.S. citizens. The stolen credit card data from more than 150,000 compromised payment cards was allegedly sold on Burkov’s site and has resulted in over $20 million in fraudulent purchases made on U.S. credit cards.
Additionally, Burkov allegedly ran another online Cybercrime Forum that served as an invite-only club where elite cybercriminals could meet and post in a secure location to plan various cybercrimes, to buy and sell stolen goods and services, such as personal identifying information and malicious software, and offer criminal services, such as money laundering and hacking services. As alleged in the indictment, to obtain membership in Burkov’s cybercrime forum, prospective members needed three existing members to “vouch” for their good reputation among cybercriminals and to provide a sum of money, normally $5,000, as insurance. These measures allegedly were designed to keep law enforcement from accessing Burkov’s cybercrime forum and to ensure that members of the forum honored any deals made while conducting business on the forum.
Burkov was arrested at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv in December 2015. An Israeli district court approved his extradition in 2017. He was extradited yesterday after appeals to the Israeli Supreme Court and the Israeli High Court of Justice were denied.