Alleged Shadowcrew member extradited to the US nine years after forum takedown

Bulgarian national Aleksi Kolarov faces charges of selling counterfeit identification documents and access devices

A 30-year-old Bulgarian was extradited to the U.S. from Paraguay in order to face charges related to his alleged involvement in Shadowcrew, a large cybercrime forum that was dismantled by U.S. authorities in 2004.

Aleksi Kolarov is charged with one count each of conspiracy, transferring false identification documents and offering access devices without authorization.

He is one of 19 indicted for their roles in the operation of Shadowcrew, which with around 4,000 members was the largest cybercrime forum of its time. Three of those charged remain at large.

According to the indictment, Kolarov used the online alias APK and was a Shadowcrew "vendor" -- a member that sold illicit merchandise including stolen credit card, debit card and bank account information, as well as counterfeit passports, drivers' licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards and other identification documents.

Kolarov was arrested on June 14, 2011, in a hotel in Asunción, Paraguay and had in his possession hundreds of thousands of dollars in various currencies, counterfeit payment cards and electronic devices for re-encoding cards.

After being incarcerated in Paraguay, he was extradited to the U.S., where he arrived Friday escorted by U.S. Marshals. On Monday he appeared in front of a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

If convicted, Kolarov faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy count, 15 years in prison on the identification documents count and 10 years in prison on the access device count. He could also receive a maximum $250,000 fine on each count.

U.S. authorities estimate that Shadowcrew members collectively trafficked and misused over 1.5 million stolen credit card details, resulting in losses of over $4 million to credit card companies, financial institutions and card holders.

Albert Gonzalez, the American hacker who's currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding the theft of millions of credit card details from TJ Maxx, Heartland Payment Systems and other companies, is believed to have played an important role in the Shadowcrew takedown.

Gonzalez was a high-ranking member of Shadowcrew, where he used the alias CumbaJohnny, but at the same time he served as an informant for the U.S. Secret Service.

Tags securitylegalIdentity fraud / theftfraudcybercrime

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Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service

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