A national of the Republic of Moldova pleaded guilty to his role in a digital crime enterprise that caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
On July 31, Valerian Chiochiu (aka “Onassis,” “Flagler,” “Socrate,” and “Eclessiastes”), 30, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act before U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan in the District of Nevada.
In so doing, he admitted to his involvement with the Infraud Organization, a transnational digital crime enterprise founded in October 2010 to promote carding services. It did so by directing traffic to the vending sites of its members, thereby allowing interested buyers to purchase stolen financial and banking information.
The Organization also offered an escrow service to facilitate illicit digital currency transactions between its members.
Chiochiu provided recommendations to various Infraud members on how they could develop, deploy and use malware to steal victims’ credit card data.
As part of his plea deal, Chiochiu admitted to having developed FastPOS, malware which made news back in 2016 for its ability to instantly exfiltrate stolen credit card data.
Infraud Organization caused $2.2 billion in intended losses and more than $568 million in actual losses over the course of its seven-year history.
Francisco Burrola, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Las Vegas Office, explained that the guilty plea of Chiochiu marked U.S. law enforcement’s ongoing commitment to put a stop to digital criminals. As quoted in a Department of Justice press release:
HSI and our partners are at the forefront of combating financial crimes and illicit activities spread on the Internet. While criminal operators may continue to grow the reach of their criminal activity, ultimately they do not escape the reach of law enforcement. We continue to investigate, disrupt, and dismantle hidden illegal networks that pose a threat in cyberspace.
Chiochiu is scheduled to be sentenced on December 11, 2020.