Ukrainian sent to US prison in cybercrime case

December 12, 2013

A Ukrainian national who admitted to setting up a huge online marketplace for stolen financial data was sentenced to serve 18 years in a US prison Thursday, officials said.

Roman Vega, 49, pleaded guilty in 2009 to conspiracies to commit money laundering and access device fraud and has been in jail ever since pending a formal sentencing.

He was sentenced by New York federal judge Allyne Ross, according to a Justice Department statement.

Vega, also known by his online handles "Boa," "Roman Stepanenko" and "Randy Riolta," was a co-founder of CarderPlanet, which included computer hackers who stole large amounts of and sold that online.

"Today's sentence is a significant milestone in our ongoing effort to aggressively target and dismantle global cybercrime organizations that operate from every corner of the world," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman.

"Vega helped create one of the largest and most sophisticated sites in the cybercrime underworld—a distinction that has earned him the substantial sentence he received today."

According to US investigators, Vega in the 1990s founded the Boa Factory, one of the earliest websites selling stolen information.

In the early 2000s, he co-founded and became a high-ranking administrator of CarderPlanet, "which became one of the first and busiest online marketplaces for the sale of stolen financial information, computer hacking services and ."

CarderPlanet had some 6,000 members and had a hierarchical leadership structure that borrowed its leadership titles from La Cosa Nostra—including a "Godfather" and several "Dons," including Vega, who also was the group's legal adviser or "Consigliere," according to officials.

Vega was arrested in Cyprus in February 2003 and extradited to California for prosecution before being transferred in 2007 to New York, where he pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

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