US Jails Money Mule Kingpin

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A Ukrainian man will spend the next seven years in prison in the United States for helping Eastern European computer hackers to obtain and launder millions of dollars in stolen funds. 

Odessa resident Aleksandr Musienko partnered with the hackers to steal over $3m from online bank accounts and businesses in the United States, then launder the stolen money overseas. 

Information hacked and stolen by the 38-year-old's partners in the scheme allowed them to impersonate US victims in interactions with the victims' banks.

"By deceiving the victims’ banks into believing that withdrawals from the victims’ accounts were requested by the victims, Musienko and others were able to steal large amounts of money from the victims’ accounts," stated the Department of Justice.

Musienko's role in the scheme included recruiting, supervising, and directing a network of individuals with American corporate and individual bank accounts who would agree to receive the stolen funds and transmit them overseas in exchange for a fee. 

Using an alias, Musienko recruited these so-called money mules by advertising on job websites that he was seeking a financial assistant. 

Those who answered his advertisement were falsely told that they were providing a service to a legitimate business by assisting its clients to make international money transfers. 

In September 2011, the hackers working with Musienko broke into the online accounts of a company based in North Carolina and transferred a total of $296,278 to two bank accounts controlled by the money mules. 

Musienko instructed his mules to wire the funds to multiple bank accounts in Europe. However, the company’s bank detected the fraud and deducted $197,526.36 in stolen funds from one of the mules before it could be wired overseas.

In the Western District of North Carolina in 2016, sealed charges were filed against Musienko. He was arrested two years later in South Korea and extradited to the United States in 2019. 

A search of Musienko's laptop conducted by the FBI in 2019 identified files containing around 120,000 payment card numbers and associated identifying information for individuals other than Musienko.  

On February 11, Musienko was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $98,751.64 in restitution.

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