37-year-old Mikael Patrick Sallnert from Sweden has been sentenced by a US court to 48 months in prison for his role in a criminal enterprise that earned crooks a total of $71 million (55 million EUR).
According to the US Department of Justice, Sallnert established and operated a credit card payment processing service with the purpose of aiding cybercriminals get the money from their victims.
The crooks, helped by the man from Sweden, managed to infect the computers of close to 1 million users with malicious programs that tricked them into thinking that their computers were infected with malware.
In order to remove the alleged threats, victims were asked to purchase the fake antivirus software at a cost that would sometime be as high as $129 (100 EUR).
In one year alone, between August 2008 and October 2009, the online payment company owned by the suspect had processed around $5 million (3.9 million EUR).
“Payment processors like this defendant are the backbone of the cybercrime underworld. As an established businessman, this defendant put a stamp of legitimacy on cyber criminals,” said U.S. Attorney Durkan.
“He was involved in defrauding thousands of victims, and his actions contributed to insecurities in e-commerce that stifle the development of legitimate enterprises and increase the costs of e-commerce for everyone.”
“This cyber crime ring spanned multiple countries—increasing the threat it posed and complicating the necessary law enforcement response. Thanks to the commitment of many foreign partners and FBI entities across the nation, we were able to dismantle that threat and ensure Mr. Sallnert faced justice,” Special Agent in Charge Laughlin explained.
Sallnert was arrested in Denmark on January 19, 2012, and he was extradited to the US later in March. In August, he pleaded guilty to one count of accessing a protected computer in furtherance of fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.