Ukrainian hacker gets 41 months in prison for leading online theft ring

NEWARK, N.J. -- A Ukrainian hacker who admitted using thousands of infected computers to steal user names and passwords for bank accounts and other online services has been sentenced to 41 months in prison. 

Sergey Vovnenko was sentenced Thursday in federal court in New Jersey. He pleaded guilty last year to charges in the case.

Vovnenko used aliases like “Darklife” and “Centurion” to hack into computers in the U.S. and elsewhere. He admitted operating a “botnet” -- more than 13,000 computers infected with malicious computer software -- that was programmed to gain unauthorized access to computers. 

Several of the infected computers were located in New Jersey. 

“From September 2010 through August 2012, Vovnenko and his conspirators operated an international criminal organization that hacked into the computers of individual users and companies located in the United States and elsewhere,”  the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, said in a news release on Thursday, citing documents filed in the case and statements given in court.

It said that U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Vovnenko was sentenced to 41 months “for stealing log-in and payment card data as part of an international hacking conspiracy.”

It also said that in addition to the prison sentence, Vovnenko was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $83,368 in restitution.

Vovnenko most recently lived in Naples, Italy. He was arrested in June 2014 after an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and Italian law enforcement.