Judge hits hacker with 21-month sentence

A federal judge on Friday sentenced a member of an international cyber crime ring to 21 months in prison for his role in a $15 million hacking scheme.

Robert Dubuc, a Massachusetts resident, became the third American to plead guilty for participating in a cyber crime scheme that emptied out bank accounts using stolen information allegedly supplied by Ukrainian hackers.


It was the second multi-year sentence handed to members of the ring. Last week, Lamar Taylor, also a Massachusetts resident, received a 30-month sentence for his role. A third, Brooklyn resident Oleg Pidtergerya, also pleaded guilty and is scheduled for sentencing in December.

According to court documents, Ukrainian hackers targeted American bank accounts. The stolen funds were moved into other accounts and prepaid debit cards. Teams of Americans in different cities would then cash out those accounts, splitting the illicit windfall among the group.

The ring hit companies like Citigroup, JPMorgan, PayPal and even the Department of Defense, tallying up over $15 million in ill-gotten gains.

Several government agencies joined the case. Prosecutors also indicted two Ukrainians who allegedly organized the crime ring. Both “remain at large,” the Justice Department (DOJ) said.

The latest sentence caps a big week for the DOJ’s efforts against cyber criminals.

On Wednesday, 20-year-old Daniel Trenton Krueger, got two years for hacking into government computer systems, including the Navy, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Library of Congress and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

Krueger also hit a number of universities like Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. He had previously pleaded guilty to the charges.

“Cybercrime is one of the most serious national security challenges we face as a nation,” said DOJ attorney Danny Williams in as statement after Kruerger’s sentencing.

Krueger worked with Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, as Team Digi7al. The two often posted stolen information to their joint Twitter account.

Knight, who also pleaded guilty, and is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 21. He was in the Navy while he hacked with Krueger.

The attack, in part, prompted the Navy to launch Task Force Cyber Awakening to address its cyber vulnerabilities.

“Recent real world events and attacks on our Navy systems make clear the cyber threat is increasing,” Matt Swartz, the head of the task force, said in an interview this week with the Navy magazine Chips. “The risk calculus in the cyber domain has changed.”