German authorities arrested a 23-year-old man who used a network of 187 fake online stores to make $1.36 million selling fictitious electric equipment and home appliances between November 2008 and August 2011.
The cybercrime gang also launched a phishing campaign which asked users to verify their bank credentials because a possible virus attack might have left them vulnerable. More than 117 illegal transactions were made using stolen customer bank account data and the suspected leader of the gang was arrested on May 2011.
“He himself of course denied that he was the leader,” said Matthias Nickolai, spokesperson for the public prosecution in Augsburg. No names have been made public, although three other suspects were taken into custody. Two men were given four and two-year suspended sentences, and a woman affiliated with the cybercrime gang received a one-and-a-half year suspended term.
From the 19 initial suspects, only one was found not guilty while other members have cases pending in court. â€œMoney mulesâ€ who transferred stolen money between banks were also investigated, fined and faced suspended prison sentences.
The charged 23-year old man can appeal the courtâ€™s decision by addressing The German Federal Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, said Matthias Nickolai.