Bulgarian Citizen Extradited to U.S. to Face Indictment Charging Sale of Stolen Payment Card Data, Accounting Firm Hacks
Two Schemes Allegedly Caused More Than $56 Million in Losses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 30, 2013|
NEWARK, NJ—Vanyo Minkov, 31, a citizen of the Republic of Bulgaria, is expected to appear in Newark federal court today following his extradition to face charges that he orchestrated two international conspiracies—to sell stolen payment card data and to file bogus tax returns using hacked information—that resulted in approximately $56 million in losses, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
As charged in the federal indictment, Minkov acquired stolen credit and debit card information and sold it online. He is also charged with hacking into the networks of multiple accounting firms to steal 2011 year tax filings from the firms’ clients and then using that information to file returns in their names the following year.
The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) and the IRS led an investigation coordinated with the Sofia, Bulgaria Office of the USSS; the FBI; Bulgarian law enforcement to identify and arrest Minkov in Bulgaria. He has been in the custody of Bulgarian authorities since his arrest in late May 2013 and was extradited to the United States on September 27, 2013.
According to documents filed in this case:
Between July 2011 and April 2013, Minkov participated in a scheme in which he sold stolen credit and debit card numbers and related personal identifying information online for profit. Minkov had multiple sources of the stolen data, including through the use of ATM skimming operations using specialized equipment to steal debit card information and PINs. Minkov obtained and sold stolen payment card data for more than 100,000 accounts during the course of the conspiracy. The losses caused by the scheme are currently estimated at approximately $50 million.
Some of the purchasers of the data paid using international money transfers sent from New Jersey.
Minkov also orchestrated a tax refund scheme in which he and his co-conspirators hacked into the networks of multiple accounting firms and stole the firm’s clients’ tax filings for tax year 2011. Minkov and his conspirators then used the stolen information to file false and fraudulent tax returns for the 2012 tax year in the names of the accounting firms’ clients. Because Minkov used the previous returns, the fraudulent filings are more difficult to detect. To date, the IRS has identified approximately more than $6 million in fraudulent claims made to the IRS in connection with the scheme.
The maximum potential penalties for each count are as follows:
|Count||Violation||Maximum Potential Penalty|
|One||Conspiracy to commit wire fraud||30 years; $1 million fine or twice the gain or loss from the offense|
|Two||Conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims||10 years; $250,000 fine or twice the gain or loss from the offense|
|Three||Conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information||15 years; $250,000 fine or twice the gain or loss from the offense|
|Four||Conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers||five years; $250,000 fine or twice the gain or loss from the offense|
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the USSS, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James Mottola, and the IRS, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen, for the ongoing investigation leading to the charges. U.S. Attorney Fishman also thanked the FBI, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs in Washington, and the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria and its law enforcement partners for their extraordinary support.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Pak of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.