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Russian national sentenced for involvement in development and deployment of trickbot malware

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | January 30, 2024 Cyber Security Health IT

“The FBI relentlessly investigates criminal activity impacting the American people even when the perpetrators reside beyond our borders,” said Assistant Director Bryan Vorndran of the FBI’s Cyber Division. “Combating malicious cyber actors is a team sport, and we are proud of the coordinated effort that brought about this sentencing.”

“This case and subsequent sentencing sends a strong message to cybercriminals and other bad actors who target individuals and businesses with malicious intent,” said Special Agent in Charge Greg Nelsen of the FBI Cleveland Field Office. “The complexities of this case required careful coordination among our domestic and international partners and their commitment to meticulous investigative work. I am proud of the synchronized effort to see that justice was served.”

In 2021, Dunaev was extradited from the Republic of Korea to the Northern District of Ohio. On Nov. 30, 2023, Dunaev pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

The original indictment returned in the Northern District of Ohio charged Dunaev and six other defendants for their alleged roles in developing, deploying, managing, and profiting from Trickbot.

In June, one of Dunaev’s co-conspirators, Alla Witte, who was a Trickbot malware developer and Latvian national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

In February and September 2023, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued financial sanctions against multiple suspected Trickbot members.

The FBI Cleveland Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Candy Heath of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Duncan Brown and Daniel Riedl for the Northern District of Ohio prosecuted the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and National Security Division, as well as the Treasury Department’s OFAC, provided significant assistance.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with the International Criminal Affairs Division of the South Korean Ministry of Justice to secure the arrest and extradition of Dunaev.

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