JPMorgan Hack Case Nets Dad Accused in Bitcoin Bribery Plot

  • A new indictment is unsealed in global hacking conspiracy
  • Prosecutors say another defendant is arrested in Florida

Federal prosecutors broadened a case linked to what the U.S. called a multiyear criminal enterprise centering on hacks of publishing and financial firms including JPMorgan Chase & Co., according to court records in Manhattan.

The government said in November that hackers and conspirators in more than a dozen countries generated hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds on pump-and-dump stock schemes and online gambling. They tied three of four suspects to previously reported hacks of JPMorgan, E*Trade Financial Corp., Scottrade Financial Services Inc. and Dow Jones & Co., a unit of News Corp. 

A fourth man, Anthony Murgio, was indicted separately in November for operating a bitcoin-exchange service, called Coin.mx, for Gery Shalon, the alleged leader and self-described “founder” of the sprawling cybercriminal enterprise.

Prosecutors on Thursday revised the case against Murgio, adding his father, Michael, as a defendant and adding the allegation that they conspired to commit money-laundering.

‘Ransomware’ Charge

In a revised indictment, Anthony Murgio and his co-conspirators are accused of knowingly exchanging cash for bitcoins for on behalf of victims of “ransomware,” or individuals who are electronically blocked from their computer systems until they pay hackers a sum of money. 

Anthony Murgio and his co-defendants enabled criminals responsible for the attacks to receive proceeds of their crimes and violated federal anti-money laundering laws by never reporting any of these suspicious transactions to authorities, according to the U.S.
 
The Murgios and their alleged co-conspirators were also accused taking over a New Jersey credit union which helped conceal their illicit transactions from law enforcement and banking authorities. The bitcoin exchange took over the credit union to dodge scrutiny by regulators and law enforcement, the U.S. said. 

In March, prosecutors added Trevon Gross to the case, accusing the former head of New Jersey-based Helping Other People Excel Federal Credit Union of taking bribes from Murgio and his co-defendants to allow them to take over the credit union. Gross, a minister, pleaded not guilty.

Awaiting Trial

Anthony Murgio and Gary Lebedev, who were arrested and charged in July, pleaded not guilty and await trial. 

Michael Murgio was arrested Thursday in Florida and is to appear before a federal judge there later in the day, according to Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The case is U.S. v. Murgio, 15-cr-769, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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