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Man pleads guilty in online banking hacking scam

Defendant schemed with others to steal money from online bank accounts using credentials stolen with malware

A New Hampshire man pleaded guilty last week in a case in which criminals hacked PCs and used stolen online banking credentials to siphon money from victims' accounts.

Alexey Mineev of Hampton, N.H., on June 3 pleaded guilty to a count of money laundering in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to prosecutors, Mineev in 2007 schemed with Alexander Bobnev of Russia and others to steal funds from bank and brokerage accounts using credentials stolen through computer viruses and then laundered the stolen money.

Bobnev and co-conspirators used Trojan Horses to infect multiple PCs in the U.S., authorities said. The malware was designed to steal personal account information from the victims as they accessed their online bank and brokerage accounts. After capturing the credentials, Bobnev and others allegedly accessed the accounts to sell securities and conduct wire transfers.

Mineev worked with other conspirators living in the U.S. to set up "drop" accounts to receive the stolen money, prosecutors said. They then wired a portion of the stolen funds to conspirators in Russia, keeping some for themselves.

According to court documents, Bobnev sent Mineev emails containing screenshots of an online money transfer from the victim's account to the fraudulent account, along with instructions to withdraw money from the fraudulent account the next day. One of the transfers from a compromised brokerage account was for $10,000.

The status of the charges against Bobnev could not be confirmed Monday.

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