Very recently the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions upon two Russians which it said were involved in operating Ponzi schemes for the purposes of defrauding American citizens and investors. Another allegation is that the stolen data was further sold out by the accused to other scammers in an effort to commit another crime upon the victims.
A lawsuit consisting of over 30 pages has been filed against the two accused namely Dimitrii Karasavidi and Danil Potekhin who are evidently nationals of Russia. The allegations against the accused are that they managed to steal crypto-assets worth millions of US Dollars by manipulating the market and phishing. Due to a complaint lodged against the two accused on Wednesday in which certain allegations have been made against the accused.
As per the complaint, Potekhin and Karasavidi agreed with each other to form a partnership and after that, they established a series of fake websites impersonating as Binance, Gemini, and Poloniex in an attempt to lure potential investors and users to share their profile information and once they have the information, they controlled the wallets of the users/investors and managed to steal the crypto-assets lying with the accounts of these unfortunate account holders.
It is estimated that by using these fraud tactics the pair managed to drain out Bitcoin, Neo, Ethereum from the victims’ wallets worth over US$ 20 Million. Prosecutors claimed that the lead person within the pair was Karasavidi and when funds were embezzled, the stolen funds were deposited in the Bitfinex account which evidently belonged to Karasavidi.
However, due to prompt response from the law enforcement agencies within the US, the stolen funds which were deposited with Poloniex were got frozen by Poloniex and immediately seized by the authorities.
The reports suggest that in the fourth quarter of 2017, the accused got away with approximately US$ 5 million which they had stolen from one single victim. Prosecutors also claimed that this is a classic case of money laundering because the hackers have been found to siphon off the stolen crypto by “layering” which is a very common practice for laundering the money. They further claimed that co-accused Potekhin has found to be the owner of several misspelled gas-holding accounts with the Poloniex which were created for the purposes of linking the accounts with a phishing scheme.Similar methods were used to defraud the customers of exchanges such as Gemini and Binance.
For the time being both, Karasavidi and Potekhin are in the middle of the cyclone of legal proceedings. Very recently they have also been made part of the OFAC’s blacklist and are likely to face charges of fraud, gaining unauthorized access by hacking as well as involved in the activities of money laundering.