This allegedly began in 2011, when several bank accounts such as: Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, PayPal, US Military Defense Finance and 11 other banks had their accounts compromised. Once inside these accounts, the hackers set up a payment that was sent to multiple prepaid debit cards. The prepaid cards were then used by an accomplice (also known as “kosher” or “money mules”) to make withdrawals at ATMs or purchases to convert the card into cash.
From here, the kosher took a small part for themselves, while sending most of the money to their employer via bank transfer.
They managed to avoid detection for some time by keeping transfers below the $ 10,000 threshold set by US anti-money laundering laws, yet they routinely made payments of $ 9,900. A $ 10,000 transaction sends a large red flag, a $ 9,900 transaction sends a smaller red flag. It is these multiple transfers of $ 9,900 amounts along with a Gmail account that the defendants use to talk to others about the scheme that was their downfall. In addition to the discussion about the scheme, there were many emails on this account that detailed the transfers to and from many of the banks. Currently, only four (4) of the eight (8) defendants are in custody, the other four (4) remain at large. They are charged with: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit identity theft. If convicted, each of the defendants will face large fines and up to 55 years in federal prison.
It is not yet clear how these eight managed to hack into these banks, but there is another case known as Trident Breach that used similar techniques. The hackers used a computer virus known as “ZeuS” to hack more than 400 different companies and organizations, and took more than $ 70,000,000 (seventy million dollars). This virus helped the perpetrators to gain access to the victim’s bank accounts. They would then divert the money and transfer it to bank accounts held by their exchangers. The Trident Breach was conducted by foreign students who lived in the United States and had student visas. These kosher would then transfer the money to Eastern Europe via wire services or MoneyGram. MoneyGram and money transfer services are one-way streets. Once the funds have been sent, they cannot be recovered. They are gone, they will never be seen again.