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Russian National Charged with Bank Fraud Related to Hacking Campaign

Published By
U.S. Attorney's Office
Published Date

NEWARK, N.J. – A Russian national was charged in an indictment unsealed today in connection with a series of computer system intrusions that occurred in 2009 and 2010, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Vitaly Kovalev, aka “Bentley,” “Bergen,” and “Alex Konor,” is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and eight counts of bank fraud.

According to the indictment:

From as early as September 2010, Kovalev participated in a conspiracy to obtain unauthorized access to bank accounts held at United States-based financial institutions and transfer funds from those accounts to accounts controlled by Kovalev and his conspirators. Kovalev and his conspirators gained unauthorized access to accounts and made unauthorized transfers of funds into other bank accounts established by, and at the direction of, Kovalev, solely for the purpose of receiving the stolen funds. At the direction of Kovalev, the funds would then be withdrawn or transferred out of these accounts. Kovalev and his conspirators were able to transfer without authorization nearly $1 million from the victim bank accounts, at least $720,000 of which was transferred overseas.

The substantive and conspiracy charges of bank fraud are punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jose Riera, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Torntore, Chief of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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