The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a Russian national living in New York for his alleged role in a $1 million scheme that hacked into retail brokerage accounts and executed fraudulent trades.
Petr Murmylyuk, also known as Dmitry Tokar, of Brooklyn, New York has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, unauthorized access to computers and securities fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also filing a parallel civil suit. He remains in state custody facing charges from a separate investigation.
According to the complaint filed in Newark federal court, Murmylyuk worked with others to steal from online trading accounts at Scottrade, E*Trade Financial Corp. (ETFC), Fidelity, Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) and other brokerage firms. The members of the ring changed the phone numbers and email addresses on these online accounts to prevent notice of unauthorized trading going to the victims, the DOJ said. The hackers then used stolen identities to open additional accounts at other brokerage firms and caused the victims' accounts to make unprofitable and illogical trades with the new accounts that benefited the hackers, the DOJ said. The firms have reported combined losses to date of approximately $1 million as a result of the scheme.
Murmylyuk and a conspirator recruited foreign nationals living in the U.S. to open bank accounts into which illegal proceeds could be deposited. Murmylyuk and the conspirator then transferred the proceeds of the sham trade to these new accounts, where the stolen money could be withdrawn, the DOJ said.
Murmylyuk is also accused of calling Trade Station Securities in which he claimed to be "Dmitry Tokar," through whose brokerage account the ring placed approximately $200,000 in fraudulent securities trades, the DOJ said. Murmylyuk was arrested on Nov. 3 in possession of a laptop that evidenced the fraud.
If convicted, Murmylyuk faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
-By Nathalie Tadena, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3287; firstname.lastname@example.org