We regret to inform you that a U.S. national has been charged and pleaded guilty in a Missouri court for running a darknet carding site called Skynet Market. The individual, Michael D. Mihalo, is accused of selling financial information belonging to tens of thousands of victims in the country, raking in over $1 million worth of cryptocurrencies from the schemes.
Mihalo and his associates peddled their wares on other dark web marketplaces such as AlphaBay Market, Wall Street Market, and Hansa Market between February 22, 2016, and October 1, 2019.
According to the US Department of Justice, “Mihalo assembled and directed the team that helped him sell this stolen financial information on the darknet… all in furtherance of the conspiracy.” Mihalo personally possessed, sent, and received the information associated with 49,084 stolen payment cards with the intent that the payment card information would be trafficked on darknet sites.
One of the defendant’s accomplices, Taylor Ross Staats, worked as a “card checker,” ensuring that the financial information being sold was still valid and had not been cancelled by the respective financial institutions. Staats is estimated to have earned at least $21,000 worth of Bitcoin for these services. He pleaded guilty on December 14, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud for this role in the operation. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Mihalo has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, which carries a maximum prison term of five years, as well as one count of access device fraud and six counts of money laundering, each of which carry up to 10 years of jail time.
This case highlights once again the dangers of illegal carding sites and the importance of taking security and privacy measures seriously. Furthermore, this was yet another successful operation by law enforcement officials working tirelessly to keep citizens safe from cybercriminals.
In related news, U.S. authorities recently shut down Try2Check, a popular Russian platform that was used by cybercriminals to confirm the legitimacy of stolen credit card information. This prompted a widespread outcry from criminals across the globe, who have since been struggling to find replacement platforms that meet their needs.