FBI Charged 53 in Internet Scam Cybercrime Case Involving the US and Egypt
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had charged 53 defendants involved in a phishing scheme, the largest number ever charged in a cybercrime case. The phishers were operating in both the United States and in Egypt. The Egyptian authorities have charged another 47 defendants. This brings the total charged in this case to 100.
The scheme allegedly involves collecting personal information from thousands of Internet users and using it to defraud US banks. Those involved in the US are all being charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, which carries a 20-year prison sentence, while others face additional charges.
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This investigation which has been dubbed “Operation Phish Phry,” actually began in 2007. The internet may move fast but law enforcement is slow and methodical.
According to the FBI, the U.S. – Egypt phishing operation collected personal information from thousands of victims and then used that information to defraud U.S. banks.
Hackers based in Egypt allegedly captured banking information and other personal details, and supplied that information to associates in the U.S. who withdrew funds using the stolen credentials and wired a share of the proceeds back to Egypt.
One Hundred Linked to International Computer Hacking Ring Charged by United States and Egypt in Operation Phish Phry
LOS ANGELES—The largest number of defendants ever charged in a cyber crime…
The sophistication with which Phish Phry defendants operated represents an evolving and troubling paradigm in the way identity theft is now committed,” said Keith Bolcar, Acting Assistant Director In Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. “Criminally savvy groups recruit here and abroad to pool tactics and skills necessary to commit organized theft facilitated by the computer, including hacking, fraud and identity theft, with a common greed and shared willingness to victimize Americans. The FBI is grateful for the assistance of its law enforcement partners in the U.S. and the Egyptian government’s dedicated cooperation, which illustrates that borders cease to exist among countries committed to the rule of law and to the protection of their citizens.
The investigation in the United States was conducted by the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, supported by the Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles and the FBI’s Legal Attache in Cairo, Egypt. Several agencies provided considerable assistance to this investigation, including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles District Attorney, the United States Secret Service, the Culver City Police Department, the El Segundo Police Department, and the United States Social Security Administration. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Water and Power, and local law enforcement departments in various counties assisted…
Each of the U.S. defendants are facing charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, carrying a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison. Some of the defendants could also face additional charges that lead to longer terms.
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