NEWS of the Day - June 27, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - June 27, 2012
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...

We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...

From the L.A. Daily News

Homeless descend on Sunland Park as crackdowns shuffle transients from place to place

By Susan Abram

SUNLAND - First, the grocery carts rolled in. Then the mattresses were plopped down.

For Kathy Wilson and other residents of Sunland, the increase of homeless people who sleep all day in the shade of pine trees at the local park has sparked outrage and a feeling of helplessness.

"I feel for them," Wilson said one recent day as she strolled through Sunland Park.

"But on the other hand, if I had young children, I wouldn't bring them here."

For decades, Sunland has attracted the rebels and the desperadoes to its borders, especially to the Big Tujunga Wash at the edge of the Angeles National Forest, where people who prefer to live on their own terms have set up encampments. | See photo gallery.

But after recent police sweeps through the wash to dismantle those encampments, the homeless have dispersed to other areas, many to Sunland Park, some residents have observed.

Recent police crackdowns have helped, but Wilson believes the cycle is chronic.

"It's an ongoing problem," she said.

Some residents have documented the increase, with photos circulating on social networking sites of accumulating shopping carts and even mattresses.

"I've been getting messages from those at the senior center who are horrified," said Tomi Bowling, a board member of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. "These are drunks. These are tweakers. They don't want to live in a society that has rules. They want to live off the grid."

But finding a solution remains a challenge. Some say there is a chronic cycle of homelessness throughout the northeast San Fernando Valley. And the homeless population is diverse: there are those who live in parks or in the wash by choice. Many are couples with pets. The self-described alcoholics say they keep to themselves, away from the drug addicted. Others say many of the homeless suffer from mental illness. And some have simply fallen victim to joblessness as a result of the economy.

Sunland's distance from several social service agencies also contributes to the issue, some say, which is why consistent collaboration between nonprofit and government agencies is needed, said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian.

"Just moving homeless people from one place to another doesn't serve the homeless' needs, and doesn't serve the public," Krekorian said. "There's little that can be done to prevent otherwise law-abiding people from using the park."

One possible long-term solution includes identifying the most vulnerable homeless men and women and placing them in permanent supportive housing.

In August, volunteers from L.A. Family Housing, the San Fernando Valley Homeless Coalition and other agencies fanned out across the region.

The ultimate goal was to place those who qualified into transitional or permanent homes, such as the newly opened Palo Verde in Sun Valley.

At least a dozen people who lived in the Tujunga Wash were found who qualified for the housing. A similar housing project is currently under construction in Sunland that will include 46 units.

Lisa Elger, 47, was one of those who lived in the wash for two years because of a failed relationship and financial problems.

But she grew tired of the life.

"They said there was a space in the shelter and I was tired of sleeping on concrete," she said.

But many of those who live in the wash say they won't go to shelters because they're too far from Sunland.

The connection between services and those who want help needs to remain strong, Krekorian said.

"All of this is dependent upon being able to identify the real causes of a particular individual's reason of being homeless and to provide remedies," Krekorian said.

"There will probably never be a complete lack of homelessness, but we certainly want to minimize it, provide help to as many people as we can, and reduce impact."

On a recent afternoon, about a half dozen men and women sat under the pine trees at the park, to drink the afternoon away.

Some admitted they are alcoholics, but resent being deemed dangerous.

"I don't live in the park," said one tall, thin, shirtless man with a long beard, who gave his name only as Michael. "There are mental patients that draw attention to themselves here and give us a bad name."

Another woman, who said her name was Marie Antoinette Sullivan, said police have unfairly targeted her and her friends in the past few days.

"I just got out of jail three days ago, and right when I came to the park, I got a ticket," she said. "I just come to the park and walk around all day, to recycle. I got a ticket for finding a bottle that was half full of liquor."

"The cops are always here, like the squirrels," said another woman named Elizabeth, 50. "They give us a hard time."

Elizabeth, who takes medication for mental illness, said she moved into temporary shelter through LA Housing, but said she had waited too long for permanent housing. She grew tired and went back to the park.

She hangs out with Christine Greenan, 55, and Lance Gentry, 42, who said they live in the Tujunga Wash. After the sweeps, they squat at the park by day, then go to another place at night to sleep.

"We're not bad people," Greenan said. "We're just homeless."

But Bowling, who is also a real estate agent in the area, said some of those who dwell in the park display dangerous behavior.

"One of them flicked a cigarette at my daughter," Bowling said. "These are not nice people."

Officers from the LAPD's Foothill Division and General Services Police did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday.

"There's no easy solution," said John Horn, Valley Shelter Director at L.A. Family Housing. "The main issue is does the person want to come here?"

Horn said many people spread unfounded rumors about the shelters, including that they are unsafe and don't allow pets.

"We do not require that they are clean and sober. Come as you are," Horn said. But those who enter the shelter cannot use drugs or alcohol on site, he said.

He also said the challenge of Sunland is geography and distance to services.

"It's a place where there aren't a lot of services," he said. "The distance factor builds a kind of complacency on their part. They'll say: I can't get to the shelter in downtown L.A., or down to the Valley.

It's a challenging population, he added.

"The ultimate solution is a willingness of the provider to work with the homeless and that the homeless accept the help that's being offered."



From the Washington Times

Britain's MI5 chief talks threats before Olympics

By Paisley Dodds

LONDON (AP) — Britain has seen a credible terrorist attack plot about once a year since the Sept. 11 attacks — a worrying pattern as security officials brace for an array of threats ahead of next month's Summer Olympics, the head of the country's domestic spy agency says.

Although Britain's threat level is a notch below what it has been for much of the past decade, it is still at substantial. The level means an attack is a strong possibility,

“Our assessment is that Britain has experienced a credible terrorist attack plot about once a year since 9/11,” MI5 Director General Jonathan Evans said in a rare public speech Monday to the lord mayor's annual defense and security lecture in London.

“The (Olympic) games present an attractive target for our enemies, and they will be at the center of the world's attention in a month or so,” he said. “But the games are not an easy target, and the fact that we have disrupted multiple terrorist plots here and abroad in recent years demonstrates that the U.K. as a whole is not an easy target for terrorism.”

Not so long ago, 75 percent of the terror threats prioritized by MI5 had links to Afghanistan or Pakistan. But Britain's efforts, along with those of its international partners, has brought that percentage down to below 50 percent, Mr. Evans said.

“You could say that we are near to reaching a form of stalemate,” Mr. Evans said. “They haven't stopped trying, but we have got better at stopping them.”

But the terrorist threat is also widening to include al Qaeda affiliates in Mali, Yemen, Somalia and parts of the Middle East, he noted.

Although the Arab Spring revolutions have brought about radical political changes in some countries, they also have brought fresh opportunities for al Qaeda affiliates to seek refuge.

“Some are heading home to the Arab world again,” Mr. Evans said. “And a small number of British would-be jihadis are also making their way to Arab countries to seek training and opportunities for militant activity, as they do in Somalia and Yemen. Some will return to the U.K. and pose a threat here. This is a new and worrying development.”

MI5 has grown since the 2001 terror attacks in the United States, going from 1,800 to 3,800 staff — some of whom joined after Britain's own homegrown suicide bombings that killed 52 people in 2005.

Since then, several international terror plots have been hatched in the United Kingdom, including the 2006 trans-Atlantic airliner plot to down several planes using liquid explosives. A handful of terror trials are also under way.

Mr. Evans stressed that other countries, such as Iran, shouldn't be underestimated in the evolving terror threat landscape.

“We have seen in recent months a series of attempted terrorist plots against Israeli interests in India, Azerbaijan and elsewhere,” he said. “So a return to state-sponsored terrorism by Iran or its associates, such as Hezbollah, cannot be ruled out as pressure on the Iranian leadership increases.”

In Tehran, Iran's Foreign Ministry warned Britain of “excuse-seeking” over the case.

“Countries should behave based on international measures. Their discriminative attitude will face our harsh and serious reactions,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparst told reporters when he was asked about remarks by the MI5 chief.

Mr. Evans also said the threat to cybersecurity had become more prominent recently.

In one recent case, a major London-listed company incurred revenue losses of 800 million pounds ($1.2 billion) because of a cyberattack, Mr. Evans said. He did not elaborate on the company's name or what country was behind the attack.

“What is at stake is not just our government secrets but also the safety and security of our infrastructure, the intellectual property that underpins our future prosperity and the commercially sensitive information that is the lifeblood of our companies and corporations,” he said.

Mr. Evans has been in charge of MI5 since 2007.



Free HIV tests available at drugstores

D.C. pharmacies participate in CDC rapid-exam program

By Mike Stobbe

ATLANTA — Would you go to a drugstore to get tested for AIDS? Health officials want to know, and they've set up a pilot program to find out.

The $1.2 million program will offer free, rapid HIV tests at pharmacies and in-store clinics in 24 cities and rural communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

Drugstores now offer blood-pressure checks, flu shots and a few other types of health services. Officials are hoping testing for the AIDS virus will become another routine service.

“By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and reduce the stigma associated with HIV,” CDC's Dr. Kevin Fenton said in a statement. He oversees the agency's HIV-prevention programs.

The tests are already available at seven places, and the CDC will soon pick 17 more locations.

The HIV test is a swab inside the mouth and takes about 20 minutes for a preliminary result. If the test is positive, customers will be referred to a local health department or other health care providers for a blood test to confirm the results, and to receive counseling and treatment.

When the project ends next summer, CDC officials will analyze what worked well and what didn't, said Paul Weidle, the epidemiologist who is heading up the project.

An estimated 1.1 million Americans are infected with HIV, but as many as 20 percent of them don't know they carry the virus, according to the CDC. It can take a decade or more for an infection to cause symptoms and illness.

Since 2006, the CDC has recommended that all Americans ages 13 to 64 get tested at least once, not just those considered at highest risk: gay men and intravenous drug users.

On special occasions, health organizations have sent workers to some drugstores to offer HIV testing. This week, Walgreens the nation's largest chain of pharmacies is teaming with local health departments and AIDS groups to offer free HIV testing at stores in 20 cities.

But this CDC pilot program is different: It's an effort to train staff at the pharmacies to do the testing themselves, and perhaps make it a permanent service.

“I'm excited. It's such a new and novel thing for us,” said Sarah Freedman, who manages a Walgreens in Washington, D.C., that is participating in the pilot program.

At her pharmacy, the testing is done in a private room. They've also taken steps to make sure that a customer can very quietly request the test. For example, they've put out stacks of special test-request cards - they look like business cards - at George Washington University and other nearby businesses. Anyone seeking a test can simply hand the card to the clerk, she said.

Only three or four customers have gone through with a test in the first few weeks.

“We get a lot of questions,” she said. “Usually, they get the information, and they go and sit on it and think about it.”

There's a second Walgreens in Washington offering the test, as well as branches in Chicago and in Lithonia, Ga. Other test sites are located in East Pines Pharmacy in Riverdale, Md.; Mike's Pharmacy in Oakland, Calif.; and a federal Indian Health Service location in Billings, Mont.



Ruling offers inmates rare chance at freedom

By Ed White

DETROIT | The Supreme Court ruling that banned states from imposing mandatory life sentences on juveniles offers an unexpected chance at freedom to more than 2,000 inmates who have never been able to seek release and had virtually no hope that their prospects would change.

In more than two dozen states, lawyers can now ask for new sentences. And judges will have discretion to look beyond the crime at other factors such as a prisoner's age at the time of the offense, the person's background and perhaps evidence that an inmate has changed while incarcerated.

“The sentence may still be the same,” said Lawrence Wojcik, a Chicago lawyer and co-chairman of the juvenile justice committee of the American Bar Association . “But even a sentence with a chance for parole gives hope.”

Virtually all of the sentences in question are for murder. When Henry Hill was an illiterate 16-year-old, he was linked to a killing at a park in Saginaw County and convicted of aiding and abetting murder.

Hill had a gun, but he was never accused of firing the fatal shot. Nonetheless, the sentence was automatic: life without parole. He's spent the last 32 years in Michigan prisons.

“I was a 16-year-old with a mentality of a 9-year-old. I didn't understand what life without parole even meant,” Hill, now 48, said Tuesday in a phone interview.

He heard about the Supreme Court decision while watching TV news in his cell.

“I got up hollering and rejoicing and praising God,” said Hill, who used to renovate homes for a living. He would like to go back to his old trade and be a mentor to children. “The last three or four years, they always put young guys in with me.”

The ruling also alarmed families of crime victims. Jessica Cooper, prosecutor in Oakland County, Mich., said her office has been taking calls from “distressed” victims' relatives.

“Now they're going to start all over,” Ms. Cooper said. “It's going to take years.”

The Michigan Corrections Department said 364 inmates are serving mandatory life sentences for crimes they committed while younger than 18. The prisoners now range in age from 16 to 67.

In Monday's 5-4 decision, the high court said life without parole for juveniles violates the Constitution's ban against cruel and unusual punishment. More than 2,000 people are in U.S. prisons under such a sentence, according to facts agreed on by attorneys for both sides of the case.

It's possible that some inmates will win immediate release. Judges could also impose new sentences carrying a specific number of years and a parole review. Some inmates could still be kept locked up for life.

“Judges have options,” said Deborah LaBelle, a lawyer in Ann Arbor, Mich. “The Supreme Court said to look at juveniles individually: their age, family background, peer pressures, home environments.”

Ms. LaBelle said she took a phone call from 34-year-old inmate Kevin Boyd, who was 16 when his mother killed his father. Boyd had given her the keys to his father's apartment, was aware of her threats and was convicted of murder.

After hearing of the court's decision, Boyd told Ms. LaBelle that he slept “with hope on my pillow for the first time in 15 years.”



From the FBI

Manhattan U.S. Attorney and FBI Assistant Director in Charge Announce 24 Arrests in Eight Countries as Part of International Cyber Crime Takedown

Two-Year FBI Undercover “Carding” Operation Protected Over 400,000 Potential Cyber Crime Victims and Prevented Over $205 Million in Losses

U.S. Attorney's Office June 26, 2012
Southern District of New York (212) 637-2600

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history directed at “carding” crimes—offenses in which the Internet is used to traffic in and exploit the stolen credit card, bank account, and other personal identification information of hundreds of thousands of victims globally. Today's coordinated action—involving 13 countries, including the United States—resulted in 24 arrests, including the domestic arrests of 11 individuals by federal and local authorities in the United States, and the arrests of 13 individuals abroad by foreign law enforcement in seven countries. In addition, the federal and local authorities and authorities overseas today conducted more than 30 subject interviews and executed more than 30 search warrants. Today's coordinated actions result from a two-year undercover operation led by the FBI that was designed to locate cybercriminals, investigate and expose them, and disrupt their activities.

Eleven individuals were arrested today, and one last night, in the United States: Christian Cangeopol, a/k/a “404myth,” was arrested today in Lawrenceville, Georgia; Mark Caparelli, a/k/a “Cubby,” was arrested in San Diego, California; Sean Harper, a/k/a “Kabraxis314,” was arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Alex Hatala, a/k/a “kool+kake,” was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida; Joshua Hicks, a/k/a “OxideDox,” was arrested in Bronx, New York; Michael Hogue, a/k/a “xVisceral,” was arrested in Tucson, Arizona; Mir Islam, a/k/a “JoshTheGod,” was arrested in Manhattan, New York; Peter Ketchum, a/k/a “IwearaMAGNUM,” was arrested in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Steven Hansen, a/k/a “theboner1,” was arrested in Wisconsin, where he is currently serving a prison sentence on state charges. In addition, two minors, whose names will not be made public, were arrested by local authorities in Long Beach and Sacramento, California. Hicks and Islam will be presented later today before a magistrate judge in the Southern District of New York. The other federally arrested defendants will be presented before magistrate judges in the corresponding federal districts of arrest.

Another 13 individuals were arrested today in seven foreign countries. Eleven of those individuals were arrested as a result of investigations commenced in foreign jurisdictions based in part on information arising out of the undercover operation and provided by the FBI to foreign law enforcement. Those 11 arrests occurred in the United Kingdom (6 arrests), Bosnia (2), Bulgaria (1), Norway (1), and Germany (1). Two additional defendants were arrested today in foreign countries based on provisional arrest warrants obtained by the United States in connection with complaints unsealed today in the Southern District of New York. Those two individuals are Ali Hassan, a/k/a/ “Badoo,” who was arrested in Italy; and Lee Jason Juesheng, a/k/a “iAlert,” a/k/a “Jason Kato,” who was arrested in Japan. Australia, Canada, Denmark, and Macedonia conducted interviews, executed search warrants, or took other coordinated action in connection with today's takedown.

Charges were also unsealed in the Southern District of New York against four additional defendants who remain at large.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As the cyber threat grows more international, the response must be increasingly global and forceful. The coordinated law enforcement actions taken by an unprecedented number of countries around the world today demonstrate that hackers and fraudsters cannot count on being able to prowl the Internet in anonymity and with impunity, even across national boundaries. Clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the Internet are still subject to the long arm of the law.

The allegations unsealed today chronicle a breathtaking spectrum of cyber schemes and scams. As described in the charging documents, individuals sold credit cards by the thousands and took the private information of untold numbers of people. As alleged, the defendants casually offered every stripe of malware and virus to fellow fraudsters, even including software-enabling cyber voyeurs to hijack an unsuspecting consumer's personal computer camera. To expose and prosecute individuals like the alleged cyber criminals charged today will continue to require exactly the kind of coordinated response and international cooperation that made today's arrests possible.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said, “From New York to Norway and Japan to Australia, Operation Card Shop targeted sophisticated, highly organized cyber criminals involved in buying and selling stolen identities, exploited credit cards, counterfeit documents, and sophisticated hacking tools. Spanning four continents, the two-year undercover FBI investigation is the latest example of our commitment to rooting out rampant criminal behavior on the Internet.

Cyber crooks trade contraband and advance their schemes online with impunity, and they will only be stopped by law enforcement's continued vigilance and cooperation. Today's arrests cause significant disruption to the underground economy and are a stark reminder that masked IP addresses and private forums are no sanctuary for criminals and are not beyond the reach of the FBI.”

The following allegations are based on the Complaints unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

Background on Carding Crimes

“Carding” refers to various criminal activities associated with stealing personal identification information and financial information belonging to other individuals—including the account information associated with credit cards, bank cards, debit cards, or other access devices—and using that information to obtain money, goods, or services without the victims' authorization or consent. For example, a criminal might gain unauthorized access to (or “hack”) a database maintained on a computer server and steal credit card numbers and other personal information stored in that database. The criminal can then use the stolen information to, among other things, buy goods or services online; manufacture counterfeit credit cards by encoding them with the stolen account information; manufacture false identification documents (which can be used in turn to facilitate fraudulent purchases); or sell the stolen information to others who intend to use it for criminal purposes. Carding refers to the foregoing criminal activity generally and encompasses a variety of federal offenses, including, but not limited to, identification document fraud, aggravated identity theft, access device fraud, computer hacking, and wire fraud.

“Carding forums” are websites used by criminals engaged in carding (“carders”) to facilitate their criminal activity. Carders use carding forums to, among other things, exchange information related to carding, such as information concerning hacking methods or computer-security vulnerabilities that could be used to obtain personal identification information; and to buy and sell goods and services related to carding—for example, stolen credit or debit card account numbers, hardware for creating counterfeit credit or debit cards, or goods bought with compromised credit card or debit card accounts. Carding forums often permit users to post public messages—postings that can be viewed by all users of the site—sometimes referred to as threads. For example, a user who has stolen credit card numbers may post a public thread offering to sell the numbers. Carding forums also often permit users to communicate one-to-one through so-called private messages. Because carding forums are, in essence, marketplaces for illegal activities, access is typically restricted to avoid law enforcement surveillance. Typically, a prospective user seeking to join a carding forum can only do so if other, already established users vouch for him or her, or if he or she pays a sum of money to the operators of the carding forum. User accounts are typically identified by a username and access is restricted by password. Users of carding forums typically identify themselves on such forums using aliases or online nicknames (“nics”).

Individuals who use stolen credit card information to purchase goods on the Internet are typically reluctant to ship the goods to their own home addresses, for fear that law enforcement could easily trace the purchases. Accordingly, carders often seek out “drop addresses”—addresses with which they have no association, such as vacant houses or apartments—where carded goods can be shipped and retrieved without leaving evidence of their involvement in the shipment. Some individuals used carding forums to sell “drop services” to other forum members, usually in exchange for some form of compensation. One frequently used form of compensation is a “1-to-1” arrangement in which the carder wishing to ship to the drop must ship two of whatever items he has carded—one for the provider of the drop to forward to the carder and the other for the provider of the drop to keep as payment in kind for the carder's use of the drop. Another frequently used compensation arrangement is for the carder and the drop provider to agree to resell the carded items shipped to the drop and to split the proceeds between them.

Background on the Undercover Operation

In June 2010, the FBI established an undercover carding forum called “Carder Profit” (the “UC Site”), enabling users to discuss various topics related to carding and to communicate offers to buy, sell, and exchange goods and services related to carding, among other things. Since individuals engaged in these unlawful activities on one of many other carding websites on the Internet, the FBI established the UC Site in an effort to identify these cybercriminals, investigate their crimes, and prevent harm to innocent victims. The UC Site was configured to allow the FBI to monitor and to record the discussion threads posted to the site, as well as private messages sent through the site between registered users. The UC Site also allowed the FBI to record the Internet protocol (IP) addresses of users' computers when they accessed the site. The IP address is the unique number that identifies a computer on the Internet and allows information to be routed properly between computers.

Access to the UC Site, which was taken offline in May 2012, was limited to registered members and required a username and password to gain entry. Various membership requirements were imposed from time to time to restrict site membership to individuals with established knowledge of carding techniques or interest in criminal activity. For example, at times, new users were prevented from joining the site unless they were recommended by two existing users who had registered with the site or unless they paid a registration fee.

New users registering with the UC Site were required to provide a valid e-mail address as part of the registration process. The e-mail addresses entered by registered members of the site were collected by the FBI.

Harm Prevented by the Undercover Operation

In the course of the undercover operation, the FBI contacted multiple affected institutions and/or individuals to advise them of discovered breaches in order to enable them to take appropriate responsive and protective measures. In doing so, the FBI has prevented estimated potential economic losses of more than $205 million, notified credit card providers of over 411,000 compromised credit and debit cards, and notified 47 companies, government entities, and educational institutions of the breach of their networks.

The Charged Conduct

As alleged in the complaints unsealed today in the Southern District of New York, the defendants are charged with engaging in a variety of online carding offenses in which they sought to profit through, among other means, the sale of hacked victim account information, personal identification information, hacking tools, drop services, and other services that could facilitate carding activity.

Michael Hogue, a/k/a “xVisceral,” offered malware for sale, including remote access tools (RATs) that allowed the user to take over and remotely control the operations of an infected victim-computer. Hogue's RAT, for example, enabled the user to turn on the web camera on victims' computers to spy on them and to record every keystroke of the victim-computer's user. If the victim visited a banking website and entered his or her user name and password, the key logging program could record that information, which could then be used to access the victim's bank account. Hogue sold his RAT widely over the Internet, usually for $50 per copy and boasted that he had personally infected “50-100” computers with his RAT and that he'd sold it to others who had infected “thousands” of computers with malware. Hogue's RAT infected computers in the United States, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Poland, and possibly other countries.

Jarand Moen Romtveit, a/k/a “zer0,” used hacking tools to steal information from the internal databases of a bank, a hotel, and various online retailers, and then sold the information to others. In February 2012, in return for a laptop computer, Romtveit sold credit card information to an individual he believed to be a fellow carder, but who, in fact, was an undercover FBI agent.

Mir Islam, a/k/a “JoshTheGod,” trafficked in stolen credit card information and possessed information for more than 50,000 credit cards. Islam also held himself out as a member of “UGNazi,” a hacking group that has claimed credit for numerous recent online hacks, and as a founder of “Carders.Org,” a carding forum on the Internet. Last night, Islam met in Manhattan with an individual he believed to be a fellow carder—but who, in fact, was an undercover FBI agent—to accept delivery of what Islam believed were counterfeit credit cards encoded with stolen credit card information. Islam was placed under arrest after he attempted to withdraw illicit proceeds from an ATM using one of the cards. Today, the FBI seized the web server for UGNazi.com and seized the domain name of Carders.org, taking both sites offline.

Steven Hansen, a/k/a “theboner1,” and Alex Hatala, a/k/a, “kool+kake,” sold stolen CVVs, a term used by carders to refer to credit card data that includes the name, address, and zip code of the card holder, along with the card number, expiration date, and security code printed on the card. Hatala advertised to fellow carders that he got “fresh” CVVs on a “daily” basis from hacking into “DBs [databases] around the world.”

Ali Hassan, a/k/a “Badoo,” also sold “fulls,” a term used by carders to refer to full credit card data including cardholder name, address, Social Security number, birthdate, mother's maiden name, and bank account information. Hassan claimed to have obtained at least some of them by having hacked into an online hotel booking site.

Joshua Hicks, a/k/a “OxideDox,” and Lee Jason Jeusheng, a/k/a “iAlert, a/k/a “Jason Kato,” each sold “dumps,” which is a term used by carders to refer to stolen credit card data in a form in which the data is stored on the magnetic strips on the backs of credit cards. Hicks sold 15 credit card dumps in return for a camera and $250 in cash to a fellow carder who, unbeknownst to Hicks, was an undercover FBI agent. Hicks met the undercover agent in downtown Manhattan to consummate the sale. Similarly, Jeusheng sold 119 credit card dumps in return for three iPad 2s to a carder who was an undercover FBI agent. Jeusheng provided his shipping address in Japan to the undercover agent, which in part led to his identification and arrest.

Mark Caparelli, a/k/a “Cubby,” engaged in a so-called “Apple call-in” scheme in which he used stolen credit cards and social engineering skills to fraudulently obtain replacement products from Apple Inc., which he then resold for profit.The scheme involved Caparelli obtaining serial numbers of Apple products he had not bought. He would then call Apple with the serial number, claim the product was defective, arrange for a replacement product to be sent to an address he designated, and give Apple a stolen credit card number to charge if he failed to return the purportedly defective product. Caparelli sold and shipped four iPhone 4 cell phones that he had stolen through the Apple call-in scheme to an individual whom he believed to be a fellow-carder, but who, in fact, was an undercover FBI agent.

Sean Harper, a/k/a “Kabraxis314,” and Peter Ketchum, a/k/a “iwearaMAGNUM,” each sold drop services to other carders in return for money or carded merchandise. Harper provided drop addresses in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to which co-conspirators sent expensive electronics, jewelry, and clothing, among other things. Ketchum advertised drop locations “spread across multiple cities” in the United States and allegedly received and shipped carded merchandise including sunglasses and air purifiers, as well as synthetic marijuana.

Christian Cangeopol CANGEOPOL, a/k/a “404myth,” engaged in illegal “instoring” at Walmart to obtain Apple electronic devices with stolen credit cards. Instoring is a term used by carders to refer to using stolen credit card accounts to make in-store, as opposed to online, purchases of items using stolen credit card information and matching fake identifications. As part of the alleged scheme, Cangeopol and a co-conspirator used stolen credit card data to order electronic devices on Walmart's website; in selecting a delivery option, they opted to have items delivered to various Walmart stores in Georgia; Cangeopol then picked up the items using a fake identification; Cangeopol and the co-conspirator then resold the carded electronics and split the proceeds.

* * *

The attached chart reflects the name, age, residence of, and pending charges against each individual charged in the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and its New York Cyber Crime Task Force, which is a federal, state, and local law enforcement task force combating cybercrime. Mr. Bharara also commended the U.S. Attorney's offices in the following districts: New Mexico, Arizona, Delaware, Massachusetts, California (Central and Southern districts), Florida (Middle district), Georgia (Northern), as well as the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. He also thanked the following domestic law enforcement partners for their assistance: the New York City Police Department; the Essex, Vermont Police Department; the Eaton, Ohio Police Department; the Butler County, Ohio Sheriff's Office; the Cedar Bluff, Alabama Police Department; the Modesto, California Police Department; the Louisiana State Police; the Suffolk County, New York Police Department; the Bakersfield, California Police Department; the Kern County, California District Attorney's Office; the Long Beach, California Police Department; the Louisville, Kentucky Metro Police Department; and the Nelson County, Kentucky Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Bharara acknowledged and thanked the following international law enforcement agencies: the United Kingdom's Serious Organised Crime Agency, Royal Military Police, Thames Valley Police, Greater Manchester Police, Leicestershire Police, Hertfordshire Police, and Wiltshire Police; the Australian Federal Police; Bosnia's Republika Srpska Ministry of Interior; the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime; the Danish National Police; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the French National High-Tech Crime Unit (OCLCTIC) of the Central Directorate of the Police Judiciaire; the German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA); the Italian Polizia di Stato, Compartimento Polizia Postale e delle Comunicazioni; the National Police Agency of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (Cyber Crimes Control Division), Ministry of Justice of Japan, Tokyo High Prosecutors Office, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; the Macedonian Ministry of Interior, Department Against Organized Crime; and the Norwegian National Police for their efforts. He also thanked the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice, as well as the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Justice.

This case is being handled by the Office's Complex Frauds Unit. AUSAs James Pastore, Serrin Turner, Timothy Howard, Rosemary Nidiry, Alexander Wilson, and Sarah McCallum are in charge of the prosecution.

The relevant charging documents can be found on the SDNY website at: http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/index.html .

List of Arrested Defendants Charged in SDNY Complaints


Complaint Numer



Charges and Maximum Penalties

Christian Cangeopol, a/k/a “404myth”

12 Mag. 1667

Lawrenceville, Georgia


  • Conspiracy to commit access device fraud (7.5 years in prison)

Mark Caparelli,
a/k/a “Cubby”

12 Mag. 1640

San Diego, California


  • Wire fraud (20 years in prison)
  • Access device fraud (10 years in prison)

Steven Hansen, a/k/a “theboner1”

12 Mag. 1641

Kentucky (in prison in Wisconsin)


  • Fraud in connection with identification information (Five years in prison)

Sean Harper, a/k/a “Kabraxis314”

12 Mag. 1638

Albuquerque, New Mexico


  • Conspiracy to commit access device fraud (7.5 years in prison)

Ali Hassan, a/k/a “Mr Badoo,” a/k/a “Mr.Badoo,” a/k/a “Badoo”

12 Mag. 1565

Milan, Italy


  • Conspiracy to commit wire fraud (20 years in prison)
  • Conspiracy to commit access device fraud, with object of possession 15 or more access devices (Five years in prison)
  • Aggravated identity theft (Two years mandatory consecutive in prison)

Alex Hatala, a/k/a “kool+kake”

12 Mag. 1669

Jacksonville, Florida


  • Fraud in connection with identification information (Five years in prison)

Joshua Hicks, a/k/a “OxideDox”

12 Mag. 1639

Bronx, New York


  • Access device fraud (10 years in prison)

Michael Hogue, a/k/a “xVisceral”

12 Mag. 1632

Tucson, Arizona


  • Conspiracy to commit computer hacking (10 years in prison)
  • Distribution of malware (10 years in prison)

Lee Jason Juesheng, a/k/a “iAlert,” a/k/a “Jason Kato”

12 Mag. 1605

Tokyo, Japan


  • Access device fraud (10 years in prison)

Peter Ketchum, Jr., a/k/a “iwearaMAGNUM”

12 Mag. 1651

Pittsfield, Massachusetts


  • Conspiracy to commit access device fraud (7.5 years in prison)

Jarand Moen Romtveit, a/k/a “zer0,” a/k/a “zer0iq”

12 Mag. 1656

Porsgrunn, Norway


  • Access device fraud (possession 15 unauthorized devices) (10 years in prison)
  • Access device fraud (affecting transactions with unauthorized devices) (15 years in prison)
  • Aggravated identity theft (Two years mandatory, consecutive in prison)

Mir Islam, a/k/a “JoshTheGod”

Bronx, New York


  • Access device fraud (10 years in prison)
  • Access device fraud (affecting transactions with unauthorized devices) (15 years in prison