US offers rewards for fugitive Russian cybercriminals

The two suspects are wanted for their alleged roles in operating an ID theft and hacking site

The U.S. government is offering multimillion dollar rewards for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of two alleged Russian hackers.

Both were indicted in U.S. courts for their roles in "Carder.ru," a website and international enterprise that principally operated out of Las Vegas. The site was taken down by law enforcement in March 2012 and 19 people arrested for their role in crimes that are estimated to have cost at least $50 million [m], according to the State Department.

Carder.ru and its members engaged in identity theft, fraud and trafficked in stolen credit card accounts and manufactured counterfeit identification debit and credit cards, the government alleges.

The State Department will pay up to $2 million for information on Roman Olegovich Zolotarev , 29 and the alleged leader of the Carder.ru website, and up to $1 million for information on Konstantin Lopatin , 32 and an alleged moderator on the site.

The two are among 25 individuals who are yet to be prosecuted or are fugitives. To date, 30 other people have been convicted as part of a lawsuit against the organization filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada and the U.S. Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Gang Section.

The rewards are being offered under a program introduced in 2013 called the "Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program." It allows the Secretary of State the ability to offer rewards for the arrest or conviction of members of transnational criminal organizations who operate outside the U.S.

Last month, a $3 million reward was offered under the same program for information leading to the arrest or conviction of a Russian man suspected of having served as an administrator for the destructive Gameover Zeus botnet.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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