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‘Money Mule’ Operator Gets Seven-Year Prison Sentence

This week the United States sentenced a Ukrainian man to prison for his involvement in a scheme to steal money from the bank accounts of U.S. victims and launder the funds to bank accounts overseas.

This week the United States sentenced a Ukrainian man to prison for his involvement in a scheme to steal money from the bank accounts of U.S. victims and launder the funds to bank accounts overseas.

The man, Aleksandr Musienko, 38, of Odessa, Ukraine, was extradited to the United States in 2019, after being arrested in South Korea. He was also known as “Oleksandr Serhiyovych Musiyenko,” “Robert Davis,” and “Ply.”

According to Musienko’s plea agreement and other documents presented in court, the defendant operated the illicit scheme between 2009 and 2012.

During this time, in partnership with Eastern European hackers, he was involved in the theft of more than $3 million from U.S. bank accounts, and proceeded to launder the funds to accounts overseas.

Musienko’s associates, the Department of Justice reveals, stole information from U.S. victims, and then leveraged the data to impersonate the victims and trick banks into approving withdrawals from the victims’ accounts.

The DoJ reveals that Musienko was involved in the recruitment of money mules, while also supervising and directing them. The individuals were recruited as financial assistants, through employment websites.

The mules, who were tricked into believing they were working for a legitimate business, were told they were assisting clients with the transfer of funds overseas.

In one incident, a total of $296,278 was transferred to two bank accounts controlled by mules, who Musienko instructed to wire the funds to European bank accounts. The fraud was detected and $197,526.36 in stolen funds was deducted from one of the mules before being wired.

The FBI searched Musienko’s laptop in 2019 and discovered roughly 120,000 payment card numbers on it, along with associated identifying information for individuals other than the defendant. 

Related: Hacker Closing Out Prison Sentence in Chicago Halfway House

Related: Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for DDoS Attacks

Related: Russian Cybercriminal Gets 9 Years for Online Fraud Website

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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