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Social Security Number Marketplace Administrator Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison

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Social Security Number Marketplace Administrator Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison

Social Security Number Marketplace Administrator Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison. In a landmark decision, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has sentenced Vitalii Chychasov, a 37-year-old Ukrainian national, to eight years in federal prison for orchestrating the notorious SSNDOB Marketplace. The marketplace operated for years, facilitating the sale of sensitive personal information, including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of individuals in the United States.

The Seizure and Shutdown

On June 7, 2022, a decisive action was taken with seizure orders executed against the domain names associated with SSNDOB Marketplace—BLACKJOB.BIZ, SSNDOB.CLUB, SSNDOB.VIP, and SSNDOB.WS. This move effectively halted the operation of the illicit website, marking a significant victory in the fight against cybercrime.

Legal Consequences

As part of the sentencing, the court ordered Chychasov to serve eight years in prison and entered a forfeiture order of $5 million, representing the ill-gotten gains from the fraudulent activities. Additionally, Chychasov was compelled to relinquish his interest in the BLACKJOB.BIZ, SSNDOB.CLUB, SSNDOB.VIP, and SSNDOB.WS domains.

International Pursuit

Chychasov’s arrest in March 2022, while attempting to enter Hungary, led to his extradition to the United States in July of the same year. The collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies from multiple countries played a pivotal role in bringing the SSNDOB Marketplace administrator to justice.

Dark Web Operations

Court records reveal that Chychasov and fellow administrators actively advertised SSNDOB Marketplace services on dark web forums. Their responsibilities included customer support functions and the vigilant monitoring of site activities.

To maintain anonymity and evade detection, the administrators strategically operated servers across different countries and mandated the use of digital payment methods. The marketplace, infamous for listing the personal information of millions of U.S. individuals, amassed over $19 million USD in sales revenue.

Impact of Stolen Information

Stolen Social Security numbers, as traded on the SSNDOB Marketplace, are catalysts for various fraudulent activities, including U.S. tax fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, loan fraud, and credit card fraud. The marketplace experienced a surge in sales during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, coinciding with government disbursements to businesses and families amid the crisis.

Collaborative Investigation

The investigation into SSNDOB Marketplace was spearheaded by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Cyber Crimes Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Tampa Division. Collaborative efforts involved the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Tampa Field Office, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, FBI Legal Attaché Offices in Latvia and Cyprus, the Latvian Police, the Hungarian authorities, and the Cypriot authorities.

Legal Proceedings

Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Jones led the prosecution, while Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Nebesky handled the asset forfeiture process.

Conclusion

The sentencing of Vitalii Chychasov represents a significant milestone in the ongoing battle against cybercrime, underscoring the importance of international collaboration in dismantling illicit operations on the dark web. The case serves as a stark reminder of the far-reaching consequences of online data breaches and the relentless pursuit of justice by law enforcement agencies worldwide.

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