Two Ukrainians who admitted to have been the ringleaders of a criminal ring bent on stealing money from online bank accounts have finally been sentenced to four years and eight months in jail each, reported the London Metropolitan Police.
29-year old Yuriy Konovalenko and 33-year old Yevhen Kulibaba have been arrested on 29 September 2011 along with over 20 other individuals that were part of the ring. Of those, 13 have beed also convicted and jailed, but the Met does not say for how long.
The group was taken down by a joint effort of the Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit, the Crown Prosecution Service, the FBI and the US Department of Justice, and UK collaborated in the investigation.
Of the two ringleaders, Kulibaba was the actual head of the operation. He resided in Ukraine and he was the one who obtained information about the banking accounts through the use of a banking Trojan surreptitiously installed on the victims’ computer. He decided which accounts would be hit.
Konovalenko was his right hand man. Located in the UK, he organized the opening and the operation of the bank accounts to which the money from the victims’ accounts was transferred, and the money’s final removal from these accounts.
“The total amount stolen through the operation of the fraud has not been definitively established; however the UK prosecution looked at the activities of the 13 defendants between September 2009 and March 2010 and during this period the proved loss was at least £2,884,590,” says the Met. “The total amount which the conspirators attempted to remove was at least £4,286,559.”