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U.S. Secret Service extradites alleged architect of massive global cybercrime operation
Washington, June 24 – A multi-year cyber investigation, led by the U.S. Secret Service, has culminated in Brooklyn federal court with the arraignment of Ercan Findikoglu, (AKA “Segate”). Findikoglu, 33, was arrested by the German BKA (Federal Investigative Police) on December 18, 2013 pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by the United States District Court in the Eastern District of New York (“EDNY”) based on an indictment brought by the EDNY U.S. Attorney’s Office. Following an extensive period of appeals, German courts approved the extradition of Findikoglu to the United States. His extradition was conducted on June 23, 2015 by members of the U.S. Secret Service New York Electronic Crimes Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
“This case, yet again, demonstrates our commitment to fulfilling an important part of our integrated mission; that of protecting our nation’s critical financial infrastructure,” said Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy. “The determination and skill of our cyber investigators, coupled with the partnerships we have created with our international law enforcement colleagues, should send a strong message to cyber criminals around the world. Our investigative reach has, and will continue to expand beyond the borders of the United States.”
Since 2010, it is alleged that an elite team of hackers, led in part by Findikoglu, targeted payment processors and financial institutions involved in processing prepaid debit cards. The group specialized in breaching databases associated with prepaid debit cards; raising the withdrawal limits of accounts; disabling security features; and utilizing the accounts to orchestrate worldwide cash-out events. The group has allegedly been linked to at least three of these types of cyber intrusions with actual losses in excess of $55 million.
Findikoglu, the alleged mastermind of this elaborate operation, was allegedly able to remain in the computer networks of the Victim Processors in order to monitor the global ATM withdrawals. Once the funds from the massive cash-out schemes were secured, Findikoglu and other participants would receive the proceeds via electronic currency, wire transfer or personal delivery.
Over the past year, several other high ranking members of this criminal organization have been apprehended locally and abroad by both members of the U.S. Secret Service, and members of foreign law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service New York Field Office.