Moldovan Behind E-Root Marketplace Gets US Federal Prison Term

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A Moldovan national has been sentenced to 42 months in federal prison by US Senior District Judge James Moody Jr.

Sandu Boris Diaconu, 31, was given the sentence for his involvement in conspiracy to commit access device and computer fraud, as well as for possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices. 

According to a press release published by the US Attorney’s Office last Thursday, Diaconu had pleaded guilty to these charges on December 1 2023.

Court documents reveal that Diaconu was the mastermind behind the E-Root Marketplace, a network of websites facilitating the sale of compromised computer access worldwide, including servers belonging to US entities. 

The marketplace operated clandestinely, obscuring the identities of its users. Through E-Root, buyers could purchase credentials enabling them to access remote computers for nefarious purposes, such as data theft or manipulation.

“The E-Root Marketplace operated across a widely distributed network and took steps to hide the identities of its administrators, buyers and sellers,” explains the press release.

Perfect Money, an online payment system, was utilized to obscure buyers’ transactions alongside an illicit cryptocurrency exchange service for converting Bitcoin. 

The investigation uncovered evidence suggesting that over 350,000 credentials were available for sale on E-Root. Victims spanned various industries globally, including a local government agency in Tampa. 

Several victims fell prey to ransomware attacks, while stolen credentials were linked to identity theft and tax fraud schemes.

Diaconu’s arrest transpired in May 2021 while he was attempting to depart the United Kingdom, leading to his extradition to the United States in October 2023. 

Read more on the arrest: US Charge Man with Running Stolen Credentials Marketplace

The investigation, led by the IRS Criminal Investigation Cyber Crimes Unit and the FBI’s Tampa Division, involved cooperation from multiple agencies, both domestic and international.

Diaconu’s arrest comes months after Interpol released details of an operation designed to target the notorious West African criminal gang Black Axe, which led to 75 arrests.

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