US accused six Russians of cyber fraud in absentia

US accused six Russians of cyber fraud in absentia
Photo: Leah Millis / Reuters

Six Russians and two citizens of Kazakhstan became the defendants in the case of cyber fraud, which the authorities of the United States are investigating. Three of them have already been detained in different countries and are awaiting extradition; the rest are still at large.

The Federal Court of Brooklyn announced an absentee cyber fraud charge for tens of millions of dollars against six Russians and two citizens of Kazakhstan on Tuesday, November 27. This is stated at the message of the Prosecutor's Office of the Eastern District of New York published on the website of the department.

The charges include fraud, hacking of computers and networks, identity theft and money laundering.

Among the defendants, there are citizens of Russia Alexander Zhukov, Boris Timokhin, Denis Avdeev, Dmitry Novikov, Alexander Isaev and Mikhail Andreev, as well as citizens of Kazakhstan Evgeny Timchenko and Sergey Ovsyannikov.

The document states that Ovsyannikov was detained in Malaysia, Zhukov was arrested in Bulgaria in early November, and Timchenko was arrested in Estonia in accordance with US arrest warrants issued in October. All three are awaiting extradition. The remaining defendants are at large. “As stated at court documents, the defendants used sophisticated computer programs and infrastructure around the world for cyber fraud,” said attorney Richard Donohue.

The fraudulent schemes involved selling advertising sites to bona fide companies, but in fact, fraudsters created the appearance of advertising activity by users. “They programmed the computers to load advertisements on fake web pages using an automated program so that they could fraudulently generate revenue from digital advertising. Fraudsters have organized two advertising networks. One was managed by Zhukov, Timokhin, Andreev, Avdeev, and Novikov with the assistance of Ovsyannikov from September 2014 to December 2016. They managed to falsify billions of views of advertising, while the companies paid more than $7 million for advertising that Internet users never viewed.

Fraudsters used more than 1.7 million infected computers belonging to ordinary people and companies in the United States in the second scheme. This network managed to falsify billions of views for which the companies paid more than $29 million.

The Russian Consulate General in New York said they kept the situation under control.

Reports of the detention of a citizen of Russia in Bulgaria appeared on November 9. The Russian Consul General in Varna, Vladimir Klimanov, said then that the spouse of the detainee had applied to the consulate on November 6. The Regional Court of Varna approved the request on November 8 and arrested the Russian for 60 days, followed by extradition to the United States. According to the website of the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office, the arrest warrant for 38-year-old Alexander Zh. came from the New York District Court. According to the agency, the Russian committed a crime in the period from September 2014 to December 2016, the damage from fraud was estimated at $7 million.

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