Feds Charge a Floridian Tied to the Great Financial Services Hack of 2014
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Monday, November 14, 2016

Feds Charge a Floridian Tied to the Great Financial Services Hack of 2014

Today's financial services industry lesson: don't run an online currency exchange for just anybody.

The Feds just charged a ninth alleged member of a group accused of hacking Fidelity [profile], J.P. Morgan [profile], and several other financial services giants. Federal prosecutors charged Ricardo Hill of Brandon, Florida with running, an unlicensed bitcoin exchange, Nate Raymond of Reuters reports, and then on Thursday, after Hill appeared in federal court in New York City, a magistrate granted his release on a $75,000 bond. [See MFWire's living timeline for more updates and history on the great financial services hack.]

George Gatch
J.P. Morgan Asset Management
CEO, Global Funds Management
Prosecutors accuse Hill of being the "finance support manager and business development consultant for," the wire service reports, and they claim that Gery Shalon (one of the three alleged masterminds of the hacking conspiracy) owned and that the exchange conducted transactions for victims of ransomware and other hacking tactics.

The public side of the case dates back to November 2015, when U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara unveiled a previously sealed, 68-page indictment against Shalon, Joshua Samuel Aaron (an American, like Hill), and Ziv Orenstein. The indictment accused the trio of masterminding a "cybercriminal enterprise operated through hundreds of employees, co-conspirators and infrastructure in over a dozen countries." In May 2016 word leaked that Israeli officials had approved the extradition of Orenstein and Shalon (both Israelis), and Reuters says the duo pleaded not guilty. And then last month Bloomberg revealed that the third alleged mastermind, Aaron, is being detained in Russia for a visa violation and is negotiating with U.S. officials to come back to the states. Reuters notes that Aaron is still in Russia now. Meanwhile, word is that Aaron might have met in person with a still-unrevealed fourth suspect based in Russia.

Hill and Anthony Murgio, whom prosecutors claim operated, have not been charged with any part of the hacking offenses, Reuters notes.

J.P. Morgan, online brokerages TD Ameritrade and Scottrade, and News Corp's Dow Jones unit have all confirmed that they were victims of the alleged hacking conspiracy. And from the beginning numerous reports have pegged Fidelity as the unnamed "Victim-2", a mutual fund shop that, per prosecutors, was attacked by the alleged hackers but then fixed the vulnerability (known as "Heartbleed").

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