11/28/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/29/2023 07:17
Date: November 28, 2023
Tampa, FL - U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has sentenced Vitalii Chychasov of Ukraine to eight years in federal prison for his administration of SSNDOB Marketplace, a series of websites that operated for years and were used to sell personal information, including the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers belonging to individuals in the United States.
On June 7, 2022, seizure orders were executed against the domain names of the SSNDOB Marketplace-BLACKJOB.BIZ, SSNDOB.CLUB, SSNDOB.VIP, and SSNDOB.WS-effectively ceasing the website's operation. As part of his sentence, the court also entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $5 million, the proceeds of the fraud, and ordered Chychasov to forfeit his interest in the BLACKJOB.BIZ, SSNDOB.CLUB, SSNDOB.VIP, and SSNDOB.WS domains.
Chychasov was arrested in March 2022 while attempting to enter Hungary. He was extradited to the United States from Hungary in July 2022.
According to court records, Chychasov and other Marketplace administrators advertised on dark web criminal forums for the Marketplace's services, provided customer support functions, and regularly monitored the activities of the sites, including monitoring when purchasers deposited money into their accounts. The administrators also employed various techniques to protect their anonymity and to thwart detection of their activities, including strategically maintaining servers in various countries, and requiring buyers to use digital payment methods. The SSNDOB Marketplace listed for sale the personal information for millions of individuals in the United States, generating more than $19 million USD in sales revenue.
Stolen Social Security numbers, like those sold on the Marketplace, are used to commit a variety of frauds, including U.S. tax fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, loan fraud, and credit card fraud. Sales on the Marketplace skyrocketed during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when federal and state governments began to disburse monies-through a variety of programs-to American businesses and families at a time of a national (and international) emergency.
The U.S. investigation was led by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI) Cyber Crimes Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Tampa Division, with assistance from the IRS Criminal Investigation Tampa Field Office. Substantial assistance was also provided by the Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs, the FBI's Legal Attaché Offices responsible for Latvia and Cyprus, the Latvian Police, the Hungarian authorities, and the Cypriot authorities.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Jones and asset forfeiture is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Nebesky.
CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.