New Jersey federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged eight people involved in an international cybercrime scheme that targeted 15 financial institutions and government agencies and aimed to steal at least $15 million from U.S. customers.
The targeted entities included Automatic Data Processing Inc., Citigroup Inc., eBay Inc.'s PayPal, JPMorgan Chase & Co., TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., the U.S. Department of Defense and others.
The accused hackers gained unauthorized access to computer networks and diverted customer funds to other accounts and prepaid debit cards, which they used to make ATM withdrawals and fraudulent purchases.
"Cybercriminals penetrated some of our most trusted financial institutions," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said yesterday in a statement. "Today's charges and arrests take out key members of the organization, including leaders of crews in three states that used those stolen identities to ‘cash out' hacked accounts in a series of internationally coordinated modern-day bank robberies."
The defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft. Each could land as much as 35 years in prison.