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ShadowCrew Cybercrime Suspect Extradited After Years on the Run

It took nine years, but a man U.S. authorities finally got their hands on a man they say was a player in the notorious ShadowCrew online fraud forum.

Aleksi Kolarov, 30, appeared in federal court Monday after a successful effort to extradite him from Paraguay. According to the indictment, Kolarov was involved with the Shadowcrew forum before it was dismantled by the Justice Department and the U.S. Secret Service in 2004. Kolarov was able to stay a step ahead of authorities until June 14, 2011, when police in Paraguay arrested him at a hotel with cash, counterfeit payment cards and tools to re-encode the cards.  

"Aleksi Kolarov is charged with conspiring in the most notorious online cybercrime marketplace of its time, selling the means to steal money and identities to other criminals,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said in a statement. "This extradition shows that hiding behind computers and borders does not deter us. It is vital that law enforcement work internationally to bring cybercriminals to justice, no matter how long it takes."

Shadowcrew.com was an illegal marketplace for stolen credit card and bank card information that is believed by police to have caused more than $4 million in losses to financial institutions. At one point, the site had approximately 4,000 members using the site to facilitate hacking and fraud, the Justice Department alleged.

Kolarov in particular is accused of serving as a vendor, and of using the site to sell illegal merchandise and services to other members. All totaled, 19 people have been charged with participating in the site. Of those, only three still remain at large, authorities said.

If convicted, Kolarov faces fines and a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy count, 15 years in prison on the identification documents count and 10 years in prison on the access device count.  

"The arrest and extradition of Aleksi Kolarov to the United States demonstrates the outstanding investigative abilities and steadfast commitment of the Secret Service to protect our nation’s financial infrastructure from unlawful acts committed by cyber-criminals on our homeland,” said Special Agent in Charge James Mottola of the U.S. Secret Service's Newark Field Office, in a statement. "The successful apprehension of suspects is due to the superior efforts our special agents and participating members of the electronic crimes task forces which include federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, private industry and academia."

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