Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the extradition of ANTON IVANOV from Estonia to face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer intrusion, among other offenses. The charges relate to the alleged operation of a massive and sophisticated Internet fraud scheme that infected with malware more than four million computers located in over 100 countries. The malware secretly altered the settings on infected computers enabling IVANOV and the six other charged defendants – Vladimir Tsastsin, Timur Gerassimenko, Dmitri Jegorov, Valeri Aleksejev, Konstantin Poltev, and Andrey Taame – to digitally hijack Internet searches and re-route computers to certain websites and advertisements. The defendants subsequently received millions of dollars in fees as a result of unintended visits to these websites and ads by users of infected computers. The malware also prevented the installation of anti-virus software and operating system updates on infected computers, leaving those computers and their users unable to detect or stop the defendants’ malware, and exposing them to attacks by other viruses.
IVANOV, an Estonian citizen, was arrested in Estonia on November 8, 2011, when the Indictment against him was unsealed. He arrived in the Southern District of New York this afternoon, and was presented and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Lai, James Pastore, and Alexander Wilson are in charge of the prosecution.