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Money mule cops plea in online brokerage hacking scam

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A New Hampshire man has agreed to pay almost $112,000 and face prison time after admitting he was a mule in a scheme that hacked in to online bank and brokerage accounts and siphoned out large sums of cash.

Alexey Mineev, of Hampton, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering in federal court in Manhattan earlier this week. He agreed to forfeit $111,954 in proceeds from the scheme, according to court documents. He also faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines at sentencing.

In November, Mineev and two other men were accused of carrying out a scam that secretly installed keylogging software on the PCs of bank and brokerage customers. Russian defendant Alexander Bobnev used the malware to hack into the customer accounts. He would then send emails instructing Mineev to transfer money out of the accounts and into a specially designated bank account.

Little did the defendants know, the account was being monitored by federal investigators with the help of a confidential informant located in Poughkeepsie, New York. That gave the feds a bird's eye view as the defendants siphoned cash out of accounts from Charles Schwab and elsewhere and deposited them into their bank account.

Mineev would then cash checks drawn on the account, pocket a small amount and send the rest back to Russia.

The scam ran from September 2006 to December 2007, although Mineev's participation ran for only the last five months of that time, according to court documents. ®

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