Md. Man Among Those Charged In Scheme To Hack Major U.S. Companies
BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It's the largest online bank theft yet, and the FBI says a Maryland man is one of the masterminds behind it all. The hackers hit institutions like JPMorgan Chase, Dow Jones and Scottrade.
Rick Ritter with the complex scheme.
Not often do suspects see justice in these types of cases, but two are now in custody. The lone American from Potomac is still on the loose. His old neighbors tell WJZ, last they heard, he had moved overseas.
FBI "wanted" posters put Joshua Samuel Aaron on blast -- the 31-year-old Maryland man who federal authorities say helped orchestrate a massive cyber criminal enterprise.
"The data breaches at these firms were breathtaking in scope and in size," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
A scheme that impacted 100 million customers' personal information -- most from JPMorgan Chase last summer.
Court documents state Aaron and two other suspects, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, used hacking software to break into the accounts of customers.
They used that information to carry out a cyber version of a stock scheme called the "pump and dump."
Prosecutors say over three years, the hackers bought penny stocks, drove up the prices and sent spam emails to customers whose data was stolen, encouraging them to buy those stocks.
When the prices went up, the suspects cashed out, leaving investors with significant losses.
"As we dug deeper and used all the investigative tools at our disposal, we were able to unearth the gargantuan scheme you see in the charges unsealed today," said Bharara.
Reports indicate that Aaron used to live in Potomac and even ran a small business out of his parents' house. The FBI believes he's now hiding in either Russia or Europe.
It's not clear how Aaron became associated with the other two suspects, but it's believed they were once students together at Florida State University.
The suspects allegedly ran illegal Internet casinos as well that earned millions of dollars a month.
They laundered the money through 75 shell companies and hid it in Swiss bank accounts, using fake IDs from 17 different companies.
The three suspects face 23 counts and several years in prison. The two in custody in Israel will be brought back to the United States.
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