Ringleader Possessed and Coordinated Resale of More Than 3,500 StubHub E-Tickets
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of VADIM POLYAKOV, 32, to 4-to-12 years in state prison for coordinating an international cybercrime and money laundering scheme that involved the theft of personal information from users of an e-ticket service operated by StubHub, LLC, (“StubHub”) and the resale of thousands illegally acquired e-tickets. On June 20, 2016, the defendant pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to Money Laundering in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree. The defendant’s sentencing follows an investigation led by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and conducted in partnership with the City of London Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”), culminating in the arrest and indictment of six individuals in New York and several others in London and Toronto.
“Many foreign cybercriminals believe they can operate overseas with total impunity,” said District Attorney Vance. “This case proves they can be held criminally responsible for their actions, which can have devastating consequences on thousands of victims at a time. While working abroad, the ringleader in this case coordinated a comprehensive cyber theft and money laundering operation with the assistance of U.S.-based co-conspirators. Fighting cybercrime requires international cooperation, and I want to thank our law enforcement partners in the City of London Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police for their assistance with this case. The cross-border nature of cybercrime requires that we change the paradigm of traditional crime-fighting significantly, which is why my Office partnered with the City of London Police and Center for Internet Security to create the Global Cyber Alliance, a transnational, cross-sector coalition working to reduce cyber risk worldwide.”
Commissioner of the City of London Police, Ian Dyson QPM said: “This result shows our increasingly successful relationship with the New York County District Attorney’s Office and ensures criminals are brought to justice. Fraud has no borders, and working in partnership, we will continue to tackle criminality wherever it is identified.”
Inspector Andrew Cowan, Officer in Charge of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police London Detachment, said: “The RCMP is committed to protecting the economic integrity of Canadians and combating organized crime rings that target hard-working people in Canada and internationally. Both the RCMP, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and the other agencies appreciate that joint intelligence and international co-operation are the keys to successfully prosecuting sophisticated 21st century cybercriminals who operate beyond borders.”
As admitted in the defendant’s guilty plea, between March 2013 and January 2014, POLYAKOV received stolen e-tickets to popular shows and events purchased with credit card and account information stolen from StubHub users. After POLYAKOV obtained the e-tickets, he provided them to a group of separately charged co-defendants in New York and New Jersey to resell for profit, often within hours of an event, and instructed the criminal proceeds to be divided and directed to PayPal accounts that the defendant controlled, in an attempt to conceal and disguise the source of the money. In some instances, POLYAKOV also directed separately charged co-defendants to transfer the money to foreign bank accounts or other individuals in London, England, and Toronto, Canada.
During the period charged in the indictment, POLYAKOV obtained and coordinated the sale of more than 3,500 e-tickets, which corresponded to concerts featuring Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Marc Anthony, and Elton John; Yankees baseball games; Giants and Jets football games; Knicks and Nets basketball games; Rangers hockey games; U.S. Open tennis matches; and Broadway shows, including the Book of Mormon, among others.
In July 2014, the District Attorney’s Office determined that POLYAKOV was traveling abroad in Tarragona, Spain, where he was located, arrested, and later extradited to New York.
Assistant District Attorneys David Neeman and former Assistant District Attorney Sophi Jacobs handled the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Glickman, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Brenda Fischer, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation. Assistant District Attorney Lynn Goodman, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, is handling the asset forfeiture matter. Cybercrime Analyst Margaret Lovric, Former Cybercrime Analysts Meredith Foster and Vitali Kremez, Senior Computer Forensic Analyst Douglas Daus, Deputy Director of the High Technology Analysis Unit David Chan, Rackets Investigator William Burmeister, Supervising Rackets Investigator Robert Muldoon, Assistant Chief Rackets Investigator Michael Wigdor, and Detective John Munari of the NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force provided additional assistance with the investigation.
District Attorney Vance also thanked the following agencies and organizations for their assistance with the investigation: StubHub, PayPal, and eBay Inc.; NYPD; RCMP, ‘O’ Division (Ontario), London Detachment Serious and Organized Crime, Financial Crime Team; City of London Police; Spanish Guardia Civil; Office of International Affairs; Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office; and Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. District Attorney Vance also thanked Captain Kenneth Gray of the NYPD Grand Larceny Division; Supervising Special Agent Scott Sarafian, Special Agent LaMoine McCants, and Special Agent James Edwards, all of the United States Secret Service; and General Counsel Kevin R. Smith, Interpol, for their individual assistance.