PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Federal authorities in Western Pennsylvania have indicted two Israeli citizens in connection with a major cybercrime bust.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Pennsylvania, 37-year-old Tal Prihar and 34-year-old Michael Phan have been charged in a one-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh.
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Prihar, who is living in Brazil, was arrested Monday in Paris. Phan was also arrested Monday in Israel. They are charged with money laundering conspiracy.
Federal investigators say the men owned and operated a website on the dark web known as DeepDotWeb, of DDW, from October 2013 through the present.
“For years, DeepDotWeb operated as a key gateway to the criminal underbelly of Darknet marketplaces,” said FBI Assistant Director Robert Johnson in a press release.
Investigators say the site provided users with “direct access” to Darknet marketplaces that offered the sale of illegal narcotics, firearms, malicious software, hacking tools, stolen financial information, access device-making equipment and other illegal contraband.
In a press release Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski said: “According to the indictment unsealed today, these defendants allegedly made millions of dollars by providing a gateway to illegal Darknet marketplaces, allowing hundreds of thousands of users to buy fentanyl, hacking tools, stolen credit cards and other contraband. The great work of our law enforcement partners and prosecutors allowed us to penetrate these supposedly anonymous online criminal networks, and those who used the networks to commit crimes will be held accountable regardless of where they live or how they attempt to hide their identities.”
Officials say Prihar and Phan also received kickback payments, totaling over $15 million, in virtual currency like bitcoin.
The FBI has seized and shut down the website.