It all comes down to this.
In surveying the FBI’s 10 most-wanted black-hat hackers, we have come across nine criminals who have all made the web a less safe place for users. But we still have one more hacker to discuss. This individual’s crimes have surpassed all the rest in the eyes of law enforcement, so he gets the top spot on our list.
In completion of our countdown, the FBI’s most wanted black-hat hacker is Nicolae Popescu.
On December 20, 2012, the United States District Court, Eastern Division of New York, Brooklyn indicted Popescu on a number of charges, including wire fraud, passport fraud, money laundering and trafficking in counterfeit service marks. Shortly thereafter, the court issued a federal warrant for his arrest.
Popescu was previously the ringleader of more than 70 Romanian hackers who used online auction sites including eBay, Cars.com, AutoTrader.com and CycleTrader.com to sell non-existent cars.
The hackers posed as legitimate sellers of a range of items, which they advertised to online users based in the United States. For each purchase, Popescu and his associates sent the buyer a fraudulent invoice with instructions to wire money to one of several U.S. bank accounts, which were opened via fraudulent passports made in Europe. Once the customer wired over the money, the funds were transferred to bank accounts located in Europe.
Not one customer ever received the goods for which they paid.
Following news of this elaborate scam, the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Infractions Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIIOCT) and the FBI conducted raids against the group. Several items were confiscated, including 150 grams of gold, 2,425 SIM cards and seven cars. Overall, the group succeeded in stealing more than $3 million.
Popescu was arrested in one of those raids. However, he was able to legally “release himself” when the authorities failed to serve Nicolae papers prior to the expiration of the legal documents under which he was being held.
Another individual, Dumitru Daniel Bosogiouiu, was also able to “escape.” He is currently wanted by the FBI for many of the same crimes as Popescu.
Nicolae speaks excellent Romanian, so it is possible that he traveled to Europe shortly following his release.
The FBI is offering up to $1 million for information leading to Popescu’s arrest.
You can read about some other black-hat hackers wanted by the FBI below:
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #10
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #9 and #8
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #7 and #6
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #5, #4 and #3
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #2
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #1