US: "Carder" Cybercriminal Who Stole Millions is Sentenced

Published: 10 April 2015

By Igor Spaic

A court in Nevada, United States, has sentenced another member of the cybercrime enterprise "" for selling stolen and counterfeit credit cards via the internet. was an internet forum where cybercriminals could exchange their knowledge of criminal scams and circulate stolen and counterfeit ID documents and credit card information. The online enterprise was Russian-led and emerged in 2005. It was shut down by US law enforcement in 2010.

Thursday's verdict came after Jermaine Smith, 34, from New Jersey in the US, pleaded guilty to taking part in a racketeering operation trading in fake ID documents back in October 2014. He was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in federal prison and ordered to pay US$ 50.8 million in restitution.

According to US Attorney Daniel G. Bogden, Smith admitted causing losses of between US$ 7 million and US$ 20 million to more than 250 victims.

Smith was originally arrested in 2013 as one of the 55 people included in four separate indictments targeting members.

While under house arrest pending his trial, he found a way to remove the electronic tracking device from his ankle. He then used his knowledge of counterfeiting ID documents to board a flight to Jamaica.

Las Vegas Review Journal reported in 2013 that Smith fled the US and arrived in Kingston, Jamaica, in July that year. However, Jamaican authorities soon found that his US passport was forged. According to the report, Jamaican investigators claimed he laundered more than US$ 6 million between August 2013 and his arrest in Jamaica in November 2013. They also said his crimes stretched to Europe, North and South America and Asia. He was subsequently brought back to Nevada, US.

Smith has testified that he first started to cooperate with in May 2009. He sold fake IDs and credit cards on the website under the internet nicknames "SirCharlie57" and "Fairbusinessman". He also admitted to possessing more than 2150 stolen credit and debit card numbers.

He was identified as the person behind the nicknames when he sold fake credit cards to an undercover special agent. The cards were later checked for fingerprints.

According to a 2011 estimate by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, counted 7,000 members worldwide and accounted for about US$ 50 million in financial losses. The 2012 "Operation Open Market" marked the first major US crackdown on the cybercrime organization, and resulted in 19 arrests.

30 of the 55 people accused in the indictments have been convicted up until today, while the rest are either pending trial or on the run. The alleged former head of, Russian national Roman Olegovich Zolotarev, is among those who have eluded arrest. The US Department of State last month announced a US$ 2 million award for information that would lead to his capture.