Michael Richo of Wallingford, Connecticut, was arrested yesterday after an FBI investigation. It is unknown exactly how long Richo was being investigated, but he is being accused of being the man behind the dark net market phishing scheme.
For some time now, dark net market users have been issued warnings regarding phishing links that were being deployed and posted on forums. When users clicked these malicious links, they were directed to what appeared to be the appropriate marketplace log in. Little did they know that it was a page designed to look identical to the real thing. This page, however, just happened to be stealing log in credentials.
After Richo gained control of the unlucky user’s account, he would monitor them for deposits, and then proceeded to withdraw the bitcoin account balances and deposit them into his own bitcoin wallet. After the bitcoin were in his wallet, Richo then sold the stolen coin to individuals for fiat currency, which was then deposited into a bank account under the control of Richo.
The Department of Justice notice states that Richo was found to be in possession of over 10,000 stolen dark net marketplace accounts.
The notice stated further:
The complaint alleges that RICHO posted fake links to online marketplaces on dark web forums. The links directed individuals to a fake login page that looked like the real login pages for the various online marketplaces. When individuals attempted to log in, RICHO stole his or her username and password. Once he had an individual’s username and password, RICHO monitored the individual’s bitcoin balance at the real marketplace. If the individual later deposited bitcoins with the real marketplace, RICHO withdrew the bitcoins before the individual could spend them, and caused the stolen bitcoins to be deposited into his own bitcoin wallet. RICHO then sold the stolen bitcoins to others in exchange for U.S. currency, which was deposited into a bank account that RICHO controlled.
Richo appeared in court yesterday and is being charged with access device fraud, computer fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and money laundering. If found guilty on the charges, Richo faces up to 37 years in prison.
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