Affactive / Revenue Jet Hacker Pleads Guilty in Sprawling US Case
Russian hacker Andrey Tiurin, the computer mastermind behind the operations of the rogue online-casino and affiliate operations Affactive and Revenue Jet, has pled guilty in a New York courtroom to a long list of computer-based felonies. Tiurin, 35, of Moscow, Russia, pled guilty to multiple counts connected not only to online-gambling fraud and penny-stock “pump and dump” scams, but with the hacking and theft of customer information from more than 80 million accounts at major US financial institutions earlier this decade.
Tiurin was extradited from the Republic of Georgia to the United States last December to face a laundry list of charges based on the group’s widespread criminal operations from 2012 to 2015. The hacking efforts of Tiurin and others supported the “business” side of the group’s activities, led by Israeli nationals Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, plus American Joshua Samuel Aaron. The group’s activities may have netted several billion dollars in illicit income. Shalon, who was captured in late 2015 after a months-long global sentence, eventually pled guilty himself, served nine months in prison, and was assessed a massive $403 million.
Tiurin faces penalties at least as severe. According to a US Southern District of New York Attorney General’s office statement issued on September 23, the hacker pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to violate the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman offered this: “Andrei Tyurin’s extensive hacking campaign targeted major financial institutions, brokerage firms, news agencies, and other companies. Ultimately, he gathered the customer data of more than 80 million victims, one of the largest thefts of U.S. customer data from a single financial institution in history. With today’s plea, Tyurin’s global reign of computer intrusion is over and he faces significant time in a U.S. prison for his crimes.”
The notorious hacker faced an even larger list of felony charges when delivered to the US last year. One charge dropped as part of the plea deal was a count of aggravated identity theft. The charge carried a mandatory two-year rider sentence to be served consecutively in addition to other penalties, and removing that possible term extention likely was a high priority for Tiurin’s defense counsel.
The hacking activities that targeted US financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase, TD Ameritrade, Scottrade, e-Trade, and Fidelity represented the most serious concerns of American investigators and prosecutors, even if the criminal group’s fraudulent online-gambling operations represented a significant slice of the group’s illicit income. The fraudulent online-gambling schemes also included a family of notorious no-pay casino sites operated under the Netad Management name.
The bogus Netad Management sites were housed in Curacao, itself notoriously known for its rubber-stamp approvals of any online gambling site willing to pay a nominal fee, legitimate or otherwise. The Netad sites fell into that latter category. The rogue casino group’s tactics included widespread spamming operations, non-payment of winners, and even a massive hacking campaign targeting WordPress blogs listed on Google, which were being stolen to promote deposits from non-savvy online gamblers onto the group’s non-paying sites.
Those Netad Management sites included Win Palace Casino, Casino Titan, Slots Jungle Casino, Jackpot Grand Casino, Golden Cherry Casino, Slots of Fortune, Begado Casino, Grand Macau Casino, Grand Macau Live Dealer Casino, and WinPalacePlay. The entire Netad operation collapsed when the US’s indictment’s against the group’s leaders were released in 2015. Shalon and Orenstein were quickly arrested in Israel while Aaron escaped to Russia. The Russia-based Tiurin also dodged international pursuit for roughly three years until his own arrest about a year ago.