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NJ Cracks Down on Largest Identity Theft Ring of Its Kind

In a story that reads like a James Bond novel, New Jersey authorities have extradited a Bulgarian national to face U.S. charges he participated in the Shadowcrew forum, an online marketplace for hacking and identity theft that was the largest of its kind when dismantled by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Secret Service in 2004. NJ U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman says 30-year-old Aleksi Kolarov will appear in Newark federal court today.

Kolarov evaded capture until June 14, 2011, when Paraguayan law enforcement authorities arrested him at a hotel in Asunción. He was found in possession of hundreds of thousands of dollars in various currencies, counterfeit payment cards and electronic implements to re-encode cards. He has been in a Paraguayan prison since.

“Aleksi Kolorov is charged with conspiring in the most notorious online cybercrime marketplace of its time, selling the means to steal money and identities to other criminals,” says Fishman. “This extradition shows that hiding behind computers and borders does not deter us. It is vital that law enforcement work internationally to bring cyber-criminals to justice, no matter how long it takes.”

The U.S. indictment charges Kolarov with one count each of conspiracy, transferring false identification documents and offering access devices without authorization. He arrived in the United States on Friday escorted by U.S. Marshals, and was held in federal custody over the weekend.

“The arrest and extradition of Aleksi Kolarov to the United States demonstrates the outstanding investigative abilities and steadfast commitment of the Secret Service to protect our nation’s financial infrastructure from unlawful acts committed by cyber-criminals on our homeland,” says Special Agent in Charge James Mottola of the U.S. Secret Service, Newark Field Office. “The successful apprehension of suspects is due to the superior efforts our special agents and participating members of the electronic crimes task forces which include federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, private industry and academia.”

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