Six charged in global e-ticket hacking scheme

Tickets are offered for sale through StubHub on July 23, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois
Tickets are offered for sale through StubHub on July 23, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois

Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against six people in what authorities said was a global cyber-crime ring that created fraudulent e-tickets for major concerts and sporting events.

According to the Manhattan district attorney's office, the cyber-gang was able to hack into the ticketing group StubHub, a unit of eBay, to take over user accounts, steal personal information and create fraudulent electronic tickets to concerts by Elton John and Jay-Z, sporting events including Yankees baseball games, and Broadway shows such as Book of Mormon.

An estimated 1,600 StubHub users had their accounts compromised in the scheme, according to the investigation by US, British, Canadian and other law enforcement authorities.

"Today's arrests and indictment connect a global network of hackers, identity thieves, and money-launderers who victimized countless individuals in New York and elsewhere," District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.

One of the members of the group, 30-year-old Russian national Vadim Polyakov, was arrested July 3 in Spain on an international arrest warrant, officials said.

Authorities said Polyakov and others used the hijacked StubHub accounts to create some 3,500 e-tickets sold within hours of some popular events.

The group distributed the proceeds through a global network of accomplices in the United States, Britain, Russia, and Canada, according to a statement from Vance's office.

Also charged were Russian nationals Nikolay Matveychuk and Sergei Kirin, and Americans Laurence Brinkmeyer, Daniel Petryszyn and Bryan Caputo.

A spokeswoman for the office said Caputo and Petryszyn would be appearing in a New York court on the charges.

StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman welcomed the arrests and said it learned of the attacks last year.

"In 2013, StubHub was alerted to a small number of accounts that had been illegally taken over by fraudsters," he said.

"Since then, StubHub has been working in close collaboration with law enforcement agencies around the world to find those responsible and bring them to justice. Our investigation of these unauthorized transactions led to the case being opened by the New York City District Attorney's Office. This combined effort culminated with the arrests announced today."

The news came months after eBay said cyber-attackers broke into its database with customer names, passwords and other personal data earlier, potentially affecting eBay's 128 million active users.

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© 2014 AFP

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