Moldovan National Indicted in Pittsburgh for Leading International Cyber Fraud Scheme

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PITTSBURGH, PA — A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh has indicted Alexander Lefterov, 37, from Chisinau, Moldova, on charges related to computer fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, as announced by United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan on Tuesday.

The indictment, which encompasses nine counts, accuses Lefterov, known by aliases such as “Alipako,” “Uptime,” and “Alipatime,” of orchestrating a botnet operation that compromised thousands of computers across the United States, including many within the Western District of Pennsylvania, from March 2021 through November 2021.

Lefterov, along with unnamed co-conspirators described as “coders,” allegedly managed and expanded the botnet, utilizing it to pilfer login credentials from infected computers. These stolen usernames and passwords granted them unauthorized access to victims’ accounts at various financial institutions, payment processors, and retail outlets, enabling them to siphon funds. Furthermore, Lefterov is accused of leasing the botnet to others, thereby facilitating the spread of malware, including ransomware, and sharing in the profits derived from these illicit activities.

“Lefterov and his co-conspirators allegedly leveraged their advanced cyber capabilities to defraud individuals nationwide, showing little concern for the financial turmoil they inflicted,” stated U.S. Attorney Olshan. He emphasized the determination of law enforcement to hold those accountable who exploit technology for personal gain, underscoring a commitment to safeguarding citizens both in public spaces and online.

Unsealed on Tuesday, the indictment against Lefterov was originally returned on December 28, 2021. The charges he faces include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, unauthorized access of a protected computer for financial gain, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Additionally, the offense of causing intentional damage to a protected computer could result in up to 10 years in prison, while each count of aggravated identity theft mandates a minimum two-year sentence, to be served consecutively to any other imposed term.

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Assistant United States Attorney Mark V. Gurzo is leading the prosecution on behalf of the government, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Secret Service spearheading the investigation. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, along with Lithuanian and Moldovan authorities, have also contributed to this case.

It is crucial to note that an indictment is merely an accusation, and Lefterov, like all defendants, is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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