ABOVE + BELOW – Maksim Boiko

2 J (1)


2 (1) 3 (1) 4 (1)




FBI agents have arrested a Russian citizen accused of laundering money for a cybercriminal gang that allegedly stole funds from a range of U.S. banks.

A complaint unsealed Monday against Maksim Boiko, 29, alleges that he worked with a transnational organized crime group, called QQAAZZ, by converting stolen money into cryptocurrency.

The Russian man is “a significant cybercriminal who launders money for other cybercriminals” by giving them access to criminally controlled ban accounts, an FBI affidavit says. U.S. authorities previously indicted five Latvian men for their alleged involvement in the QQAAZZ operation. According to prosecutors, hackers who breached victims’ bank accounts would contact QQAAZZ seeking an account to wire stolen funds as part of a kind of “global, complicit bank drops service.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University and a specialist on court filings, first noticed the court records.

Boiko entered the U.S. in January with his wife, and $20,000 in cash, according to the FBI. He claimed he earned the money through bitcoin investments and by renting property in Russia. In fact, pictures on Boiko’s Instagram page showed the young man holding stacks of cash reaped through criminal activity, the FBI said. Agents also searched through his Apple iCloud account to determine that some of the funds had been laundered through Chinese bank accounts, the affidavit said.

“To hide his true identity, Boiko sometimes used an online moniker known as ‘Gangass’ in furtherance of his criminal activities,” court documents allege. “To conceal communications with his cybercriminal clientele, he utilized secure and encrypted Jabber instant message platforms, to include ‘exploit.im’ almost exclusively used by cybercriminals.”

Data from Boiko’s account showed that he received $387,964 worth of deposits and had withdrawn roughly 136 bitcoin, the FBI said, which was worth $865,748 at press time.

This is the latest update in the FBI’s ongoing case against the QQAAZZ collective, which the bureau says has been active and includes a dozen members in countries including Georgia, Bulgaria and Latvia.

Members have spent years opening personal and corporate bank accounts, including at JP Morgan Chase and PNC Bank, “for the sole purpose of using the accounts to receive stolen funds from victims.” The group typically uses malware that captures victims’ usernames and passwords, then it directs co-conspirators to start withdrawing money. They have also used a range of aliases on the Jabber messaging platform, including “richrich,” “salazar001” and “donaldtrump55.”

BACKGROUND: Russian charged in Pittsburgh with laundering money for international cyber criminals




A Russian national described by the FBI as a “significant cybercriminal” has been charged in Pittsburgh with laundering money for other cybercriminals, joining five Latvians indicted here in January on similar charges.

An FBI complaint was unsealed Monday against Maksim Boiko, 29, known as “gangass” in the cyberworld, after agents arrested him at a Miami condo on Saturday.

Mr. Boiko had entered the U.S. in January with his wife at Miami carrying $20,000 in cash, the FBI said.

He told customs agents that the money was from investments in Bitcoin and rental properties in Russia. But the FBI said that Mr. Boiko, whose Instagram account showed him flashing bundles of cash, is really a money launderer for other cyber criminals who provides access to bank accounts for receiving stolen money from victims and for converting the money into crypocurrency.

Agents said Mr. Boiko conspired with members of an international organized crime group called QQAAZZ that provides money-laundering services around the globe.

The network has been under investigation by the Pittsburgh FBI, and in January a grand jury in Pittsburgh handed up an indictment against five Latvians on conspiracy charges related to the scheme.

Prosecutors said the Latvians opened accounts at banks around the world to receive money for a fee from cybercriminals who stole it from victim accounts, including those held at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh and First National Bank in Pittsburgh.

The FBI said cyber thieves with access to a victim’s bank account would typically contact QQAAZZ, which had about a dozen members operating in Georgia, Bulgaria, Latvia and other countries, to locate a recipient bank account to which they could wire stolen money.

The QQAAZZ conspirators secured bank accounts in the names of shell companies in exchange for about half of the stolen money.

Mr. Boiko was directly involved with the QQAAZZ conspirators from his base in St. Petersburg, Russia, and had a close personal relationship with one of the QQAAZZ leaders, according to the FBI.

He was set for an initial appearance hearing Monday by video before a federal magistrate judge in Miami and will eventually be transferred to Pittsburgh.

and more BACKGROUND: 5 Latvians indicted in Pittsburgh in international money laundering scheme




Five Latvians are under indictment in Pittsburgh on charges of providing money-laundering services for cybercriminals as part of a transnational organized crime group called QQAAZZ.

Aleksejs Trofimovics, Ruslans Nikitenko, Arturs Zaharevics, Deniss Ruseckis and Deinis Gorenko were named in an indictment handed up in September on counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The case was unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court.

Prosecutors said the defendants opened accounts at banks around the world to receive money for a fee from cybercriminals who stole it from the accounts of unwitting victims, including at least one at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh.

Agents said cyber thieves with access to someone’s bank account would typically contact QQAAZZ to locate a recipient bank account so they could wire the stolen money.

The QQAAZZ members secured bank accounts, often in the names of shell companies they set up, to receive the stolen money in exchange for 40 to 50 percent of the take.

QQAAZZ advertised its services on Russian internet platforms as a “global, complicit bank drops service,” according to the indictment.

Mr. Trofimovics is in custody and made a brief appearance Friday before federal magistrate judge at the Pittsburgh courthouse. It was not immediately clear where the other defendants are being held.