The Russian citizen Anton Bogdanov (35), aka Kusok, was sentenced by a US Chief District Judge to 5 years of prison for wire fraud conspiracy and computer intrusions. The man attempted to hack into private tax preparation firms, steal personal information, use that information to file federal tax returns and fraudulently attempted to obtain more than $1.5 million in tax refunds from the Department of the Treasury.
The judge also ordered Bogdanov to pay $476,713 in forfeiture.
The Russian man was arrested in Phuket, Thailand, on November 28, 2018 and was extradited to the United States in March 2019.
According to the indictment, between June 2014 and November 2016,
ANTON BOGDANOV and his co-conspirators compromised computer systems of private tax preparation firms in the United States and stole personally identifiable information (PII) (including Social Security numbers and dates of birth) of the victims.
Crooks used stolen data to impersonate the victims and modified the tax returns to ensure that the refunds are paid to their prepaid debit cards. The debit cards were cashed out in the United States, and a percentage of the proceeds was wired to the Russian hacker in Russia.
“Bogdanov hacked into tax preparation firms and used illegally obtained private information from innocent victims to try to steal their federal income tax refunds for his own use,” stated Acting United States Attorney Lesko. “Today’s sentence underscores the commitment of this Office to protecting the integrity of private tax return information and holding corrupt hackers like the defendant accountable for his crimes.”
“Bogdanov utilized sophisticated means to steal two valuable commodities, peoples personally identifiable information and funds belonging to the American Taxpayer, stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. “IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to work side-by-side with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute international cyber criminals who infiltrate our tax system for personal gain. Justice was served in today’s sentence and should serve as a warning that cyber-criminals cannot hide anonymously beyond our borders.”
The final sentence was clement with the cybercriminal, the man could have faced up to 27 years’ imprisonment for his charges.
“Victims in this investigation may have thought justice would be elusive when they learned Bogdanov and his cohorts were in Russia. Today’s result should serve as a reminder that our reach is global, and we are laser-focused on stopping cyber criminals wherever they may try to hide,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said in a statement.
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, PLA Unit 61419)