An American fugitive accused of conspiring and organizing the largest known cyber-hack on Wall Street came back to the United States from Russia. On Wednesday, Joshua Aaron landed in New York and was arrested immediately at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Did negotiations with Russia help with Aaron’s arrest?
Aaron’s arrest resolved months of negotiations at a time of extreme tension between Washington and Moscow over hacking. There are reports that his arrest follows negotiations with the U.S. authorities from a migrant detention center near the Russian capital for over seven months.
Ben Brafman, the attorney of the accused, said his client is in the U.S. voluntarily and has waved extradition. As of now there are no comments from Russia’s Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the migration center. Aaron, who is a Maryland native, is expected to appear in a Manhattan courtroom before a federal judge on Thursday. He was a fugitive living in Moscow until now.
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In a statement, Bharara said, “Joshua Samuel Aaron allegedly worked to hack into the networks of dozens of American companies, ultimately leading to the largest theft of personal information from US financial institutions ever.”
How they carried out the largest cyber-hack
Aaron and two Israelis are accused of organizing what the U.S. attorney called “securities fraud on cyber steroids” from 2007 to mid-2015. They are accused of stealing the information of more than 100 million consumers from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and 11 other major institutions. In the breach, more than 83 million of JPMorgan’s customers had their information stolen.
They are accused of using that data to manipulate stocks and undertake other schemes valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. The three men allegedly manipulated stock prices by selling shares of companies to people whose contact information they had stolen.
Also the three were charged with running an illegal payment processing business. They allegedly used the business to collect around £14.3 million ($18 million) in fees, according to the BBC. According to prosecutors, the men hacked into the systems of rivals to spy on them, and then to avoid detection, they hacked into a credit card company which was reportedly investigating their payment processing business.
The other two suspects are Ziv Orenstein and GeryShalon. The two Israeli men were arrested in Israel in July 2015 and in 2016. They were extradited to the US. All three men were charged in November 2015.