In what sounds like a movie script, over $1 million was stolen by a group that made use of thousands of credit cards posted for sale on the dark web. Some of the details of this complex cybercrime operation have come to light following an indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice.
In the United States v. Trevor Osagie, the defendant has pled guilty to conspiracy to commit credit card fraud from 2015 to 2018. Osagie worked with a network of thieves and managed to rack up over $1.5 million in damages.
At least 4,000 people were affected. As noted by Bleeping Computer, Osagie faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million dollars. The sentencing is set for May 25, 2023.
The dark web is made up of internet content and services that aren’t accessible through normal means, and the websites and services provided are not indexed by major search engines. While the dark web isn’t always associated with illegal activities, its encrypted and anonymous nature makes it attractive to criminals.
By using the dark web, Osagie was able to recruit and manage other co-conspirators, who played various roles in the fraud. Hamilton Eromosele allegedly led the criminal network that used social media to recruit “workers” to purchase luxury items and gift cards with stolen credit cards.
From there, Ismael Aidara created fraudulent bank accounts and credit cards, while Malik Ajala provided the stolen card information. Six other people were involved in this saga, making trips to the U.S. for any task that required a physical presence. The case against them must have been strong because everyone named in the indictment entered guilty pleas.
Here’s how it worked. After this criminal network acquired stolen credit and debit card numbers from the dark web, the information was passed to members that would use this information to purchase flights to the U.S., rental cars, and accommodations. Continuing the spending spree, gift cards and luxury goods would be purchased.
The “workers” who traveled and purchased items for other members of the group were found on social media with promises of big profits and travel. The proceeds were divided up among the criminal network. After a wild, three-year rampage, the authorities were able to catch up and nab the wrongdoers.