Pizza delivery man cops to life in DarkMarket

R.A. Hettinga rah at
Fri Jan 15 03:44:36 PST 2010


The Register

Pizza delivery man cops to life in DarkMarket
Ran 'eBay for criminals' from net cafe

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco

Posted in Crime, 14th January 2010 19:56 GMT

A former London pizza delivery man faces a 10-year prison sentence after
admitting he helped found the notorious DarkMarket forum for computer crime,
several news sites reported.

Renukanth Subramaniam, a 33-year-old Sri Lanka-born man from North London,
pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court in London to conspiracy to defraud
and furnishing false information. Authorities say he joined DarkMarket on its
first day of operation in late 2005 and helped build it into an online
resource for payment card fraud, with a thriving exchange for buying and
selling stolen data and its own secure payment system.

DarkMarket operated for three years and had about 2,500 members at its peak.
To be accepted, candidates had to provide details of 100 compromised cards to
reviewers, who would then verify their validity. Members were required to
adhere to a strict code of conduct that forbid foul language and pornography
and demanded a kind of honor among thieves.

Subramaniam worked as a site administrator until October 2006, when he was
forcibly demoted over allegations of poor security hygiene. He continued as a
reviewer until June 2007 and was arrested the following month when he turned
himself in to police in Wembley.

DarkMarket was shuttered in September 2008 following the arrest of another
site admin who called himself Cha0. According to news reports, the Turkish
hacker was known as a supplier of high-quality skimmers for payment card fraud
and was eventually accused of kidnapping and torturing a Turkish police

A month later, another DarkMarket admin with the handle Master Splynter was
outted as senior cybercrime agent
( J Keith Mularski
of the FBI. The website, it turned out, had been secretly run from an FBI
facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Also on Thursday, a second DarkMarket associate pleaded guilty to conspiracy
to defraud. John McHugh, 69, of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was alleged to be
an experienced payment card fraudster who went by the online moniker

According to authorities, Subramaniam ran DarkMarket from the Java Bean
internet cafe in Wembley, where he spent several hours a day. His handle,
JiLsi, was adorned with an avatar of a pirate with an eye patch. Police said
he owned three homes, but had no fixed address, crashing at friends'
residences and never staying at any one place for long.

The men reportedly face a maximum of ten years at sentencing, which which will
take place at an undetermined date. More coverage from The Independent and The
Telegraph are here
tails-1868028.html) and here

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