The last of five defendants, all immigrants from the former Soviet Union, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a multi-million dollar credit card fraud and identity theft scheme in federal district court in Los Angeles Tuesday.
The stolen credit cards, numbering into the hundreds according to court documents, were used to make cash withdrawals, purchase money orders, and buy expensive goods that were later resold for cash.
According to documents from the FBI investigation that led to their arrests, the defendants received the stolen card information from hackers authorities believe are operating in Russia. Some of America’s most sensitive industries were hit in the three separate cyberattacks that yielded these cards, including an airline and multiple healthcare administrators. The attacks took place in 2014-2016 and the information stolen has been linked to other major fraud schemes. In all, authorities estimate total losses at $5 million. According to the Department of Justice, one American company went out of business as result of the fraud.
Russian Nationals Irina Fedoseeva, Timur Safin, Dmitry Fedoseev, and Kristina Gerasimova, along with Belorussian Siarhei Patapau, have now all agreed to guilty pleas from their involvement in the scam. All will now be sentenced in June and September by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson for felony identity theft and fraud. The maximum sentences for each defendant range from five to twelve years in federal prison.
Fedoseeva, the last to plead guilty, helped a co-defendant purchase items from landmark American retailers Apple and Best Buy, then resold those items online. She faces a maximum of five years in federal prison. Fedoseev and Patapau were arrested with over 500 credit and debit cards each in their possession. They face up to twelve years.
The FBI website cites the Federal Trade Commission as saying identity theft complaints almost doubled between 2010 and 2015.