A Lithuanian man extradited to the United States this week has been charged with hacking U.S.-based computers and stealing from online bank accounts and securities brokerage accounts.
The man, Vytautas Parfionovas, 32, has conducted various illegal operations between 2011 and 2018, in which he accessed email servers and computers belonging to U.S. financial institutions in an effort to steal funds from victim accounts.
Arrested in Ukraine on October 24, 2019, Parfionovas was extradited to the U.S. on November 21.
A criminal complaint unsealed on Thursday claims that, starting in January 2011, Parfionovas and his co-conspirators engaged in a long-running money-theft scheme.
In one part of the scheme, the defendant allegedly used illegally obtained login information to access victims’ securities brokerage accounts in order to steal money from those accounts and to conduct trades to their own benefit, the Department of Justice reveals.
After financial institutions started blocking transfers from the compromised accounts, the group accessed other brokerage accounts, then placed unauthorized stock trades, while simultaneously trading profitably in the same stocks from other accounts they controlled. The losses caused by this operation totaled over $5.5 million.
In another part of the scheme, the suspects hacked into victim email accounts, then emailed the victims’ financial advisers and requested money to be transferred to overseas bank accounts they controlled.
In one case, the conspirators obtained $50,000 from an investment account of U.S. victims, with the funds eventually transferred to an individual in Kharkov, Ukraine, where Parfionovas was located.
In another case, Parfionovas and his co-conspirators took over a victim’s email account and then requested, via email, for $225,000 to be transferred from one of the victim’s bank accounts.
Parfionovas is charged with computer intrusion, securities fraud, money laundering, bank fraud and wire fraud, among other offenses. He faces up to 30 years in prison for money laundering and a mandatory consecutive two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft, the DoJ says.