He went by the screen name “Eskalibur” which was used in his role of making online transactions at meeting places for thieves located in cyberspace. The criminal enterprise’s name on the Internet was known as the Western Express Cybercrime Group and Eskalibur was one of its ringleaders. He was personally responsible for the trafficking and sale of approximately 75,000 credit card account numbers in a fraud that would bear fruit to a tune of over a $4 million in proceeds. With two others, who lived in the United States, the trio was accountable for over 95,000 stolen and forged credit card accounts and another million dollars in profits building to a grand total of over $5 million in cybercrime earnings.
Egor Shevelev a/k/a Eskalibur, 27 was safe from prosecution. Living in Kiev in the Ukraine, there was no way US law enforcement was able to apprehend him. However in 2008, he decided to spend some of his ill-gotten gains and take a vacation to Greece. It was there on the Island of Rhodes that Greek law enforcement apprehended him after the issuance of an international arrest request. Shortly after, Ukrainian authorities executed a search warrant of his apartment, finding evidence that allowed Greek officials to detain him in preparation for extradition back to New York State on July 2, 2010 for the cybercrime of identity theft and the global trafficking of stolen and forged credit card accounts.
The two Americans who lived in United States were easier to apprehend and arrest. Douglas Latta, 40 whose online handle was “Realbusy” and Anna Ciano, 41, a/k/a “Angela Perez,” were both picked up in the Brooklyn, New York apartment they shared.
Along with Shevelev, the three were indicted and found guilty by a jury of all charges listed in the Indictment in New York State Supreme Court, after a ten-week trial in August of this year.
Shevelev operated his part in the scheme out of his apartment in Kiev. He was among five other men of Eastern European descent who were listed in the Indictment that was originally filed in 2009, where the case was prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The ring as stated operated a carding forum on the Internet by the name of the International Association for the Advancement of Criminal Activity. Thieves interacted in stolen credit card activities as well as other transactions in violation of law. They also purportedly forged credit cards using the hijacked numbers, turning them into cash with the unsuspecting, innocent assistance of eBay shoppers.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. made the announcements of the extradition, Indictment and the results of the trial. After the indictment was revealed Vance said “The extradition and indictment of this defendant bring us a step closer to apprehending the members of an international identity theft ring. This Office is committed to shutting down criminal operations that traffic in stolen information used to steal identities and illegally acquire money.”
After the verdict by the jury was made public, Vance was quoted as saying “It was a highly profitable scheme that netted the principals millions of dollars. I am pleased that these defendants have been sentenced to prison sentences appropriate to the scope and breadth of their misconduct.”
Aside from the results of this trial four others included in the 173-count Indictment were Dzimitry Burak, aka “Graph,” 30, a native of Belarus who like Shevelev was living in the Ukraine, Oleg Kovelin (Covelin), aka “DoZ,” 32, from Moldova, and Vladimir Kramarenko, aka “Envisor,” 35, a Moldovan national, as well as Viatcheslav Vasilyev, aka “The Viver,” 37 from the Czech Republic. Kramarenko and Vasilyev were arrested in July 2008 in Prague and subsequently extradited to the U.S. the following year.
According to officials, the five Eastern European men, worked in line with seventeen other accused individuals who were named in the November 2007 indictment, as well as a company based in New York called Western Express International Inc. WEI was managed by an additional defendant named Vadim Vassilenko, which authorities say was used to coordinate and facilitate the illegal activities and launder the ring’s ill-gotten gains.
Vasilyev and Kramarenko previously pleaded guilty. Burak and Kovelin (Covelin) still remain fugitives to this point, avoiding capture.