By Kim Zetter
September 1, 2009
Five eastern European men were indicted in New York on Monday as part of
an international ring allegedly responsible for at least $4 million in
credit card theft.
The ring, which authorities dubbed the Western Express Cybercrime Group,
operated between 2001 and 2007 and trafficked in at least 95,000 known
stolen credit card numbers, including some belonging to victims in New
York, where the case is being prosecuted by the Manhattan District
The five named in an indictment unsealed this week include Vasilyev
Viatcheslav, 33, and Vladimir Kramarenko, 31, of Czechoslovakia, who
were arrested in Prague in July 2008 and only extradited to the U.S.
last week; Egor Shevelev, 23, a Ukrainian arrested last year during a
vacation in Greece and awaiting extradition; Oleg Kovelin, 28, from
Moldova (spelled "Covlin" in some documents); and Dzimitry Burak, 26, a
Belorussian who was last living in Ukraine. The latter two have not yet
been apprehended. A sixth defendant has not been named yet.
The five men named this week allegedly worked in concert with 17 other
defendants who were previously charged with a 173-count indictment in
November 2007, along with a New York-based company called Western
Express International Inc., which authorities allege was used to
coordinate and facilitate the illegal activities and launder the ring's
ill-gotten gains. Of those 17 defendants, 14 have been arrested. Five
The new defendants have been charged with enterprise corruption, a
felony, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison; two counts of
scheming to defraud, also a felony, which is punishable by up to four
years in prison; and one count of conspiracy, a misdemeanor, which is
punishable by up to a year in jail. Three of the defendants have been
indicted on additional charges, including grand larceny, criminal
possession of stolen goods and money laundering.
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