Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia Deports American Accused In Massive Wall Street Cybertheft To U.S.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the eight-year scheme "securities fraud on cyber-steroids."
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the eight-year scheme "securities fraud on cyber-steroids."

WASHINGTON -- An American man whom U.S. prosecutors have accused of organizing the largest known cyberattack on Wall Street has been deported from Russia to the United States.

Lawyers for Joshua Aaron, 32, confirmed that he arrived in New York around midday on December 14 aboard a commercial flight from Moscow. He was scheduled to make his first U.S. federal court appearance on December 15.

U.S. prosecutors have accused Aaron and two Israeli men of orchestrating the theft of data from more than 100 million customers from U.S. companies including JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The group then used that information to manipulate stocks and similar schemes that brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, U.S. prosecutors say.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the eight-year scheme "securities fraud on cyber-steroids."

The office of Aaron's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told RFE/RL that its client would appear in court on December 15.

U.S. authorities issued an arrest warrant for Aaron in July 2015, just two months after he arrived in Russia via Ukraine. His Israeli partners were extradited to the United States a year later.

Aaron has been held in a Moscow immigration detention center since being arrested by Moscow police in May 2016 for alleged immigration violations.

According to Bloomberg, he had applied for refugee status, but a Russian judge later ordered him deported.

The deportation comes amid growing alarm about the extent to which Russian computer hackers have penetrated U.S. government systems, political parties, or other organizations, and whether the election that Republican President-elect Donald Trump won was tainted.

The U.S. intelligence community in October publicly accused the Russian government of being behind intrusions into Democratic Party organizations, and the final days of the U.S. election campaign were overshadowed by questions of Russian hacking.

Trump has rejected allegations that Russia tried to help him get elected and has said the cyberattacks could have come from other governments or private actors.

In an unrelated case, a Russian man wanted for allegedly hacking U.S. websites, including the social-networking site LinkedIn, is the focus of a tug-of-war between U.S. and Russian officials, both of whom want him deported from the Czech Republic.

Yevgeny Nikulin has been held in a Czech jail since his arrest in October, with the assistance of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Washington wants him extradited to the United States to face charges, something Moscow has fought.

  • 16x9 Image

    Mike Eckel

    Mike Eckel is a senior correspondent reporting on political and economic developments in Russia, Ukraine, and around the former Soviet Union, as well as news involving cybercrime and espionage. He's reported on the ground on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the wars in Chechnya and Georgia, and the 2004 Beslan hostage crisis, as well as the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

  • 16x9 Image

    Carl Schreck

    Carl Schreck is an award-winning investigative journalist who serves as RFE/RL's enterprise editor. He has covered Russia and the former Soviet Union for more than 20 years, including a decade in Moscow. He has led investigations into corruption, cronyism, and disinformation campaigns in Russia and Central Asia, as well as on poisoning attacks against Kremlin opponents and assassinations of Iranian exiles in the West. Schreck joined RFE/RL in 2014.