A Nigegrian man is being sought by US authorities in connection with an international gang accused of committing $530 million in cybercrime fraud.
Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu, 29, is wanted on behalf of US authorities for allegedly being a member of the Infraud Organisation, the country’s department of justice said.
They described the case as “one of the largest cyber fraud enterprise prosecutions ever undertaken by the department of justice.”
He is one of 36 suspects from across the globe indicted over their roles within the group, which is said to have committed “large-scale acquisition, sale and dissemination” of stolen identities, debit and credit cards and other sensitive information.
One advert posted on Infraud’s online forum in 2011 claimed to have 795,000 log-ins for British customers of HSBC, the indictment says.
Mr Okeakpu, who used aliases including “Aslike1″, “Aslike”, “Moneymafia” and “Shilonng”, could face up to 20 years in a US jail if he is extradited, the country’s authorities say.
David Rybicki, the deputy assistant attorney general who supervises organised crime and gangs, told a press briefing in Washington that Mr Okeakpu faces racketeering conspiracy charges.
“He joined the organisation in 2010 – he was a VIP member, he was promoted to that level by one of the administrators and leaders of the organisation, Svyatoslav Bondarenko,” he said.
Mr Rybicki said that members of the group did not know the others.
“Like most organised transnational criminal enterprises, Infraud’s members had defined roles within the organisation’s hierarchy,” he said. “But unlike the organised crime of years past, many of the organisation’s nearly 11,000 members have never met in person and do not know the true identities of their co-conspirators — they know each other only by their online user names and other anonymised identifiers.”
Among the 36 indicted were a Kosovan man known as “Pizza”, “Zatcher” from the Ivory Coast and “Moviestar” from Pakistan.
“Okeakpu was promoted to VIP member status in April 2014,” said Mr Rybicki. “He also held other posts in the organisation, among those were moderator and super-moderator.
Super moderators on the site “oversaw and administered specific subject matter areas within their expertise”, according to US authorities. A VIP member used the forum to gather information to “facilitate their criminal activities”.
Under the slogan “in fraud we trust”, Infraud attempted to inflict £1.5 billion of losses on financial institutions, businesses and individuals over seven years, it is claimed. Its members defrauded victims of more than $560 million (£380m) after it targeted more than 4.3 million debit cards, credit cards and bank accounts globally.
The criminal group operated from an online forum, through which users could offer or buy illicit services, including malware capable of data breaches.
Infraud is said to have 10,901 registered members and was founded by Bondarenko, a 34-year-old Ukranian man.
A total of 13 arrests have been made so far.