Swedish Court Sentences Eight in Online Poker Hacking Cases
A Swedish district court has handed down sentences against eight people convicted of participating in an organized ring that hacked into the accounts of Swedish online poker players, transferred or chip-dumped online balances to their own and accounts, and the withdraw the illicit proceeds from the sites.
Much of the activity took place on the state-run Swedish site Svenska Spel, according to a brief statement issued by the Värmland District Court via the official outlet for Swedish court news, Sveriges Domstolar. Eight conspirators have been sentenced to date, out of ten who were initially indicted.
Here’s the meat of the case, via Sveriges Domstolar, courtesy of Google Translate:
“A 25-year-old man from Karlstad sentenced to prison for two and a half years for a total of 51 cases of serious fraud and hacking. Another 25-year-old man living in Stockholm is sentenced to imprisonment for one year and three months for 19 cases of serious fraud and hacking. Their offense has mostly gone out on their shifting money from other people’s bank accounts to game accounts with international gaming companies and then either won the game and took out the money or gambled away the money. Gaming has taken place on the internet. Overall, it’s about millions.”
As is typical in Swedish court matters, the perpetrators are generally not publicly identified. The two 25-year-olds appear to be the so-called “ringleaders” of the operation, and the amounts stolen from accounts ranges from the equivalent of a hundred or so US dollars to 280,000 Swedish Krona, about USD $42,400 or about 30,000 Euros.
The hacking cases bear strong resemblances to high-profile incidents including other Swedes. Players ranging from Johnny Lodden to Patrik Antonius to Jens Kyllonen at EPT Barcelona last year, have allegedly been victimized or targeted in various ways through a similar form of computer hacking. In regards to some of those earlier hacking incidents and scandals, Swedish players Samer Rahman and Mohamad Kowssarie were widely alleged to have participated, but there is no indication that either was involved in the recent Spenska Spel-centered episode, since both are well over age 25, the age listed for the two primary participants.
Still, the fact that another similar scheme traces to the underground Swedish online-poker community also reinforces one of the themes running through discussions and reports connected to the various scams, both proven and alleged, that one or more organized hacking rings centered in Sweden have targeted the online-poker community for an extended period of time.
It should be duly noted that a wide range of safeguards exist to help protect one’s computers from such hacking attempts, ranging from not using them on shared, public networks to extra software and hardware protocols that can be installed to hinder such intrusions. Such hacking attempts also usually target high-profile players with very large online bankrolls; average players in general are seldom targeted by such schemes.
In this latest instance, according to the Sveriges Domstolar statement, two other defendants were acquitted, while the remaining six received lesser sentences ranging from fines and probation to community services. As with the two 25-year-olds, all were charged with online fraud in connection with the scheme. One of the problems with such schemes in general is that they invariably leave electronic paper trails, which lead directly, if not to the hacking process itself, to the accounts that were used to transfer money illicitly.