The case of a Mexican hacker who claims the US as a VIP member of a global cybercrime gang

His name is Arnaldo Sánchez Torteya, he is 32 years old and the US Department of Justice accuses him of organized crime and points him out as part of the gang known as "Infraud"

Arnaldo Sánchez Torteya. Photo. A Punto
Arnaldo Sánchez Torteya. Photo. A Punto

Arnaldo Sánchez Torteya is 32 years old, he is originally from Nuevo León and since February 2018 he is in prison in Mexico City, where he is facing an extradition request from the United States justice system.

The charge against him: conspiracy linked to a corrupt organization with the influence of organized crime, notes a report by the US Department of Justice documenting the case.

His extradition, according to the US authorities, could mean a 20-year prison sentence. In Mexico, however, there is no arrest warrant against him and it has not been related to cybercrimes committed in the country.

But the United States points to Sanchez Torteya as a prominent member of one of the most important criminal organizations in the world of global cybercrime.

In a few words: Arnaldo Sánchez Torteya is a "black hat" hacker, linked since 2010 "Infraud", an international cybercrime band, commanded by a Russian named Sergey Medvedev, identified as "Stells", and a Ukrainian named Svyatoslav Bondarenko, from alias "Obnon".

According to the US authorities, "Infraud" ravaged cyberspace with malware dispersion, identity theft, frauds of more than 530 million dollars and total losses caused to its victims amounting to 2,200 million dollars.

In the structure of this organization, to which at least 36 hackers belong, the young Mexican was not one more.

The Department of Justice of the United States places it in the 5th place of command with the alias of "Elroncoluna", the nickname that it used for its movements in the deep Internet networks.

"Sánchez Torteya's specialty was the sale of credit card data, which included the name of the account holder, his date of birth, social security numbers, address, telephone number, his mother's maiden name, and the security code that appears on the back of credit cards, "notes the Department of Justice.

The US authorities also warn that the young Mexican was advertised on the "Infraud" website as "someone who could make inquiries about credit profiles and/or personally identifiable information."

Last year, the Justice Department asked Mexico for the extradition of Sanchez Torteya, after detecting that "Infraud" had promoted him for his "remarkable" activity.

On February 8, 2018, Interpol and the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) -of the then General Attorney's Office of the Republic- detained the youth in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and transferred him to the Reclusorio Sur in Mexico City.

Sánchez Torteya was arrested on the same day as 13 others of his alleged accomplices in the world. Among them Sergey Medvedev, "Stells", apprehended in Bangkok, Thailand.

US authorities identify Medvedev as one of the founders of "Infraud", along with the Ukrainian Svyatoslav Bondarenko.

This organization was born in October 2010, under the name "Infraud We Trust", as a private discussion forum in which stolen social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, passwords, and malware dissemination were traded, in accordance with the investigation of the Department of National Security (HSI) of the United States

Later it became a criminal organization specialized in millionaire frauds, through which its members "washed" profits through various digital currencies, Liberty Reserve, Bitcoin, Perfect Money, and WebMoney, according to the US authorities.

Sánchez Torteya joined "Infraud" in November 2010 with the username "Elroncoluna" and immediately stood out for his abilities, according to the HSI investigation.

"On December 28, 2010, Sánchez Torteya was promoted to VIP Member status," the document notes.

"According to the investigation, the VIP members, who were also called 'Fratello Masons' or 'Advanced Members', were those members of the Infraud Organization who had been members for a long time, or those members who were notable by virtue of their activities within the Infraud Organization, "says the HSI.

The authorities of the United States affirm that Sánchez Torteya was engaged in the sale of credit card data, including personal data.

He also accuses him of selling tracking services for credit profiles or personal identification information of any individual. However, they do not attribute an amount of illegal profits in the extradition file presented to Mexico, which was recently released by the newspaper Reforma.

At the end of 2017, Kelly Pearson, a trial attorney from the Organized Crime and Gangs Section of the Department of Justice, filed the criminal charges against her.

On October 31 of that year, the Federal Court for the Southern District of Nevada, in Las Vegas, ordered his arrest and that of 35 other alleged members of "Infraud." In the end, the United States Embassy in Mexico initiated the legal procedures for the extradition.

On January 31, 2018, a control judge of the Southern Prison ordered his provisional detention for extradition purposes. On February 8, Interpol mounted an operation together with the Federal Ministerial Police and arrested him in Monterrey. The same day he was transferred and imprisoned in the South Prison of Mexico City.

The judge of the accusatory system issued his legal opinion on April 24 in favor of the extradition of Sánchez Torteya to the United States and on June 20 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to deliver him, according to information published by the newspaper Reforma.

To stop his immediate extradition, the young man filed an amparo and obtained the suspension, but on November 15 federal judge Yazmín Eréndira Ruiz Ruiz issued a sentence denying him the protection of justice.

Sánchez Torteya challenged: he knows that this is his last resort to avoid his extradition to the United States, where he could face a 20-year prison sentence.

via: A Punto