The alleged operator of a website that sold payment card numbers stolen from hacked entities was hauled into a Virginia federal courtroom after Israel extradited the defendant, despite reported efforts by Russia to prevent the prisoner from reaching American soil.
Russian national Aleksei Burkov, 29, is accused of running Cardplanet, which offered visitors the opportunity to purchase from a selection of over 150,000 compromised payment cards — many belonging to US citizens. The site made over US$20 million (£15 million) in illicit revenues, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Additionally, Burkov allegedly operated an invitation-only online Cybercrime Forum forum malicious actors could virtually meet, plot out their next attack, and buy and sell hacking services and stolen goods.
According to a newly unsealed indictment, Burkov faces one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, one count of access device fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, and another count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, identity theft, computer intrusion, wire fraud and money laundering.
Burkov, who was arrested back in December 2015 at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, has been the subject of a long and drawn-out extradition battle. Although his extradition was approved in 2017, Burkov’s case went through multiple legal appeals, all of which were rejected.
According to Israeli and US media, Russian officials allegedly sought to prevent Burkov’s extradition to the US by proposing a prisoner swap. Reports say that Moscow offered Israel the release of Na’ama Issachar, 26, an Israel-American who has been serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence after she was arrested last April at Moscow’s airport for carrying a small amount marijuana in her luggage. Reportedly, Israel officials believe the Kremlin imposed an unusually severe sentence on Issachar as leverage to broker a deal that would scuttle the US’s attempt to prosecute Burkov. Ultimately, Israel did not play along.
The original version of this article was published on SC Media US.