Arizona Woman Arrested for Assisting North Korea Infiltrate Major US Companies
The Justice Department recently unsealed an indictment against a U.S. citizen and three North Koreans using aliases that engaged in a complex fraud to secure remote employment as software and application developers in a wide range of industries, generating almost $7 million that was then funneled back to North Korea. The U.S. citizen, Christina Chapman, was arrested in her hometown in Arizona and is accused of receiving and hosting laptop computers sent by the various employers to make it appears as though the North Korean IT workers were located in the United States. Among those who employed the North Koreans were a “top-five major television network, a Silicon Valley technology company, an aerospace and defense company, an American car manufacturer, a luxury retail store, and a U.S.-hallmark media and entertainment company” according to the indictment. Last year the U.S. Treasury announced sanctions against entities that employ North Korean IT workers, whose salaries were then used to contribute to the country’s ballistic missile program. The North Koreans charged in the indictment remain at large, and the U.S. government is offering $5 million for information about the workers and the full-scale disruption of the scheme.
Two MIT Brothers Arrested in Connection to a Ethereum Crypto Theft
Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”) educated brothers, Anton Peraire-Bueno and James Peraire-Bueno, are accused of stealing $25 million worth of the cryptocurrency Ethereum in just 12 seconds. In what the DOJ has called a “first-of-its-kind” intricate crypto fraud, the two brothers are accused of identifying a vulnerability in the Ethereum blockchain and using bots to identify valuable pending crypto transactions before they were added to the blockchain and then rerouting that cryptocurrency to other tokens and attempted to hide the scheme using shell companies, other cryptocurrency exchanges and private cryptocurrency addresses. “Once they put their plan into action, their heist only took 12 seconds to complete,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “This alleged scheme was novel and has never before been charged.” What makes this case particularly interesting is that the Securities and Exchange Commission is set to issue a ruling later this month concerning whether or not to approve an Ethereum exchange-traded fund which would allow investors access to the ether token without actually directly owning the cryptocurrency itself. Earlier this month, S.E.C. Chair Gary Gensler expressed some concerns about the lack of formal regulation in the cryptocurrency market, remarking, “To me, the fundamental question is, how do we ensure that the American investor is protected? And right now, they’re not getting the required or needed disclosures.” What impact this and any other high profile arrests and alleged heists in the cryptocurrency space could have remains to be seen, but it is clear that the digital world provides a new avenue for potential criminal activity and that the government is working diligently to charge individuals who violate the law in this new and emerging space.The post Recent Arrests by DOJ Highlight Growing Trend in Cybercrime Prosecutions first appeared on Darryl A. Goldberg.