A New York City judge has sentenced Aleksandr Zhukov, a Russian national behind what has been described as one of the most sophisticated digital fraud operations in the history of the Internet, to 10 years in prison.
District Judge Eric Komitee of the federal court in Brooklyn sentenced Zhukov for stealing more than $7 million from advertising companies in the United States between September 2014 and December 2016 via a digital-advertising-fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement on November 10.
The 41-year-old Zhukov, who referred to himself as the "king of fraud," was also ordered to pay more than $3.8 million in forfeiture.
Extradited to the United States after being arrested in Bulgaria in November 2018, Zhukov was convicted following a jury trial in May 2021 of fraud and money laundering.
He has pleaded innocent to the charges.
Zhukov's scheme used thousands of infected computers around the world to falsely inflate web traffic to dummy websites and defraud advertisers.
"Sitting at his computer keyboard in Bulgaria and Russia, Zhukov boldly devised and carried out an elaborate multimillion-dollar fraud against the digital-advertising industry, and victimized thousands of companies across the United States," District Attorney Breon Peace said.
According to the statement, Zhukov "recruited computer programmers and other employees to help him perpetrate the scheme and build the technical infrastructure required to create fraudulent ad traffic."