A New York City man has been indicted for allegedly stealing and selling reams of payment card data, the proceeds of which he laundered in bitcoin.
Vitalii Antonenko, 28, was charged in the U.S District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Tuesday with conspiracy to engage in computer hacking, payment card trafficking and money laundering, according to a federal indictment.
Law enforcement found hundreds of thousands of stolen payment cards on Vitalii Antonenko’s computers after arresting the Ukraine native at Kennedy International Airport in March 2019. They charged Antonenko with money laundering at the time.
In the Tuesday indictment, prosecutors outlined a multi-pronged money-laundering scheme that turned proceeds of stolen and sold credit card data – including data from an unnamed Massachusetts hospitality business – for tens of thousands of dollars.
Working with two conspirators from 2014 to 2016, Antonenko allegedly received at least 114 bitcoin from one, sent about as much bitcoin to the other, and then received nearly $40,000 in cash bank deposits 10% below market rate, the indictment said.
Law enforcement officials say an undercover agent bought a victim’s stolen card data from the first conspirator in November 2016. It further alleged the conspirator sent Antonenko 4.38 bitcoin the same day they discussed hospitality card data Antonenko still had for sale.
Antonenko also hacked a “non-profit scientific research institution” in Massachusetts, according to the indictment. The indictment does not name either victim.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.