WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Russian national Vladimir Drinkman has pleaded guilty to his role in the biggest hacking scheme ever prosecuted in the United States that resulted in millions of dollars in corporate and individual losses, the US Department of Justice announced in a statement on Tuesday.
“This hacking ring’s widespread attacks on American companies caused serious harm and more than $300 million in losses to people and businesses in the United States,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said.
According to the Justice Department, the 34-year-old Drinkman, alongside four other co-conspirers from Russia and Ukraine, stole information from the networks of corporate victims, retailers and other institutions and sold it on online forums causing hundreds of millions of dollars in loses. The hacked computer networks included those of NASDAQ, Dow Jones, JetBlue, 7-Eleven as well as JCP.
Drinkman was arrested in the Netherlands in 2012 and later extradited to the United States in February.
Upon his extradition, Russia expressed concern over the Netherlands authorities’ decision to extradite Drinkman to the United States, despite arguments in favor of his primary extradition to Russia in compliance with the 1999 US-Russia treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
The defendants also attacked retailers that received and transmitted financial data as well as other institutions with information that they could "exploit for profit," the Justice Department said.
Additionally, the defendants hacked into the computer networks of large corporate entities including NASDAQ, Dow Jones, JetBlue, 7-Eleven and JCP.
They have allegedly resold the hacked data around the world through online forums charging about $10 for each stolen US credit card number associated with the data, about $50 for each European stolen card number and $15 each for Canadian credit card numbers.
"As a result of the scheme, financial institutions, credit card companies and consumers suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses — including more than $300 million in losses reported by just three of the corporate victims — and immeasurable losses to the identity theft victims in costs associated with stolen identities and false charges," the Justice Department said.
Drinkman’s sentencing is scheduled for January 15, 2016.