Market scam nets $137m in illegal profits
Exchange Commission listing 32 defendants said the scheme yielded more than $100 million in unlawful profits.
The conspiracy was allegedly engineered by a pair of hackers in Ukraine who penetrated the computer systems of Marketwired, PR Newswire and Business Wire, which send out press releases for major firms.
“The defendants were a well-organised group that allegedly robbed the newswire companies and their clients and cheated the securities markets and the investing public by engaging in an unprecedented hacking and trading scheme,” US attorney Paul Fishman said.
“The defendants launched a series of sophisticated and relentless cyber attacks against three major newswire companies, stole highly confidential information and used (it) to enrich themselves at the expense of public companies and their shareholders.”
The Ukraine-based hackers allegedly stole about 150,000 press releases from February 2010 through to this year that contained information critical to stock valuation.
The hackers then sold the stolen data to traders, at times being compensated with a flat fee and other times with a percentage of profits from the trades.