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3 Indicted In 'Largest U.S. Bank Breach Ever,' Justice Says

Describing a sprawling criminal enterprise that includes dozens of shell companies and the use of multiple fake identities, the Justice Department has indicted three men for hacking, securities fraud, and a range of other crimes that involved hundreds of employees and accomplices.

The group's ringleader was Gery Shalon, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which adds that Shalon used multiple aliases, from Garri Shalelashvili to Phillipe Mousset and Christopher Engeham.

Saying that the criminal ring stole the personal information of more than 100 million people, the federal indictment says that the targeted companies include "one of the world's largest financial institutions," along with a string of large financial services companies and at least two financial news publishers.

The U.S. Attorney's office has scheduled a 1 p.m. ET news conference to discuss what it calls the "largest U.S. bank breach ever." The U.S. documents do not name the company.

NPR's Aarti Shahani reports:

"Shalon and his co-conspirators allegedly procured servers in Egypt, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Brazil and other countries. And they then used those networks as a launch pad to attack some of the largest financial firms based in the U.S. "The indictment charges that the defendants hacked networks, stole customer contact information, and then marketed stocks deceptively to these unsuspecting people, making tens of millions of dollars. "Shalon also allegedly ran an Internet gambling business, distribution centers for malicious software, and an illegal Bitcoin exchange."

Two of the suspects, Shalon and and Ziv Orenstein, are Israelis who were arrested in their home country this summer; the U.S. then sought their extradition. The third suspect is Joshua Samuel Aaron, a Florida resident.

A fourth defendant, Anthony Murgio, also lives in Florida; he's charged in a separate indictment related to the Bitcoin exchange called Coin.mx, which the government says was used to launder millions of dollars. That scheme involved "a phony front-company, 'Collectables Club' [sic], that was supposedly a members-only group, according to the indictment.

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