WASHINGTON –Thomas Kennedy McCormick, aka “fubar,” of Cambridge, Mass., was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his role in the racketeering conspiracy to develop and distribute malicious software (malware) through an international computer hacking forum known as Darkode.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves of the District of Columbia and Acting Special Agent in Charge David Geist, of the FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division.
In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ordered 36 months of supervised release.
According to court documents, McCormick, 30, was an administrator of Darkode, a criminal organization centered around an online, password-protected criminal forum where high-level international hackers and other cyber-criminals convened to develop, buy, sell, trade, and share hacking tools, information, and ideas. Before becoming a member of Darkode, prospective members were vetted through a process in which an existing member invited a prospective member to the forum to present the skills or products that he or she could bring to the group. Darkode members allegedly used each other’s skills and products to infect computers and electronic devices of victims around the world with malware and, thereby gain access to, and control over, those devices.
McCormick was a long-term member of Darkode, eventually rising to the level of administrator. McCormick made and sold malicious software that stole users’ personal identifying information, banking account login in information, and credit card information. He also sold and brokered the sale of stolen credit cards and other financial account information. When his residence was searched, he had the stolen credit card information of almost 30,000 people in his possession along with numerous copies of malware. As part of McCormick’s guilty plea, he admitted his involvement in causing about $679,000 in financial losses through these offenses.
McCormick was indicted on racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud charges. The racketeering conspiracy charge included conspiracy to commit bank, wire, and access device fraud, identity theft, hacking, and extortion. McCormick was also charged with five counts of aggravated identity theft.
He was arrested on Dec. 10, 2018, at the FBI’s Washington Field Office in Washington, D.C. On March 3, 2020, McCormick pled guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering influenced corrupt organization and aggravated identity theft. Today, he was sentenced to 12 months for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering influenced corrupt organization followed by 6 months for aggravated identity theft.
McCormick’s sentencing is the latest in this wide-ranging investigation. In July 2015, the Department of Justice originally announced the dismantling of Darkode, with charges filed against 12 individuals associated with the forum. The charges were part of a coordinated effort by a coalition of law enforcement authorities from 20 nations to charge, arrest, or search 70 Darkode members and associates around the world.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI with assistance from Europol and their European Cyber Crime Center (EC3) and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police Service (Scotland Yard).
Former Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. Dominguez and Corbin A. Weiss and current Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter V. Roman, working with the Fraud, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, prosecuted the case. The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Violent Crime and Racketeering Section, and the Office of International Affairs of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division provided significant assistance.