Category Archive : Crime

Inmates Hack Prison’s Computer Network with DIY Computers



Five prisoners in the United States managed to build two personal computers from parts hidden behind a plywood board in the ceiling of a closet of their detention center. The prisoners connected the PC’s to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (ODRC) network and abused their new found powers.

The actions by the prisoners caused the State of Ohio’s Office of the Inspector General to publish a 50-page report [PDF] about their investigations into the incident this week.

Related: Australian Man Withdrew $2.1 Million Thanks to Bank Error

Ohio Inspector General forensic analysis determined the prisoners issued passes for inmates to gain access to multiple areas within the institution, and used the Departmental Offender Tracking System to steal the personal information of an inmate and apply for five credit cards.

Forensics also found “a large hacker’s toolkit with numerous malicious tools for possible attacks. These malicious tools included password-cracking tools, virtual private network (VPN) tools, network enumeration tools, hand-crafted software, numerous proxy tools, and other software used for various types of malicious activity.”

The prisoners had “self-signed certificates, Pidgin chat accounts, Tor sites, Tor geo exit nodes, ether soft, virtual phone, pornography, videos, VideoLan, and other various software.”

A ODRC technical team reports: “Inmates appeared to have been conducting attacks against the ODRC network using proxy machines that were connected to the inmate and department networks. It appears the Departmental Offender Tracking System portal was attacked and inmate passes were created. Findings of bitcoin wallets, stripe accounts, bank accounts, and credit card accounts point toward possible identity fraud, along with other possible cybercrimes.”

The Ohio Inspector General was tipped off to the actions of the prisoners after the ODRC IT team moved the Marion Correctional Institution from Microsoft proxy servers to Websense.

On July 3, 2015, Websense sent an email alert reporting that a computer on the ODRC network had exceeded daily internet usage threshold. More alerts were forthcoming, warning of “hacking” and 59 regarding “proxy avoidance.”

So, ODRC investigated. The login credentials by the computer were found to be illicit and a search for the computer itself ensued. The computer was found when ODRC employees identified the network switch the PC’s were connected into.

“I was following up on information received from OSC IT department,” an incident report stated. “I had been told there was a PC on our network that was being used to try and hack through the proxy servers. They narrowed the search area down to the switch in P3 and the PC was connected to port 16. I was able to follow the cable from the switch to a closet in the small training room. When I removed the ceiling tiles I found 2 PCs hidden in the ceiling on 2 pieces of plywood.”

The prisoners had gathered the computer parts from Marion’s Correction Institution’s RET3 program, which helps to rehabilitate prisoners by putting them to work breaking PCs into component parts so they can be recycled.

Five inmates were involved, and have since been separated in other correctional facilities, as detailed by the Inspector General report.

ODRC appreciates “the time the Inspector General’s office has taken to conduct these investigations and we have already taken steps to address some areas of concern. We will thoroughly review the reports and take any additional steps necessary to prevent these types of things from happening again.”

It added: “It is of critical importance that we provide necessary safeguards in regards to the use of technology while still providing opportunities for offenders to participate in meaningful and rehabilitative programming.”


Images: Shutterstock

Jewish Center Bomb Caller Tried to Use Bitcoin to Hide Identity

Bitcoin and Google Voice helped to make the suspected arrested Thursday for his wave of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers virtually untraceable over a period of month, as first reported The Daily Beast.

Related: Dark Web Gun Runner Overdoses in Front of Court to Try and Avoid Sentencing



As unfolded other Bitcoin criminals, like the Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht, one small slip-up led authorities to the possible bomber.

Michael Kaydar, 19, is suspected of phoning in over 100 bomb threats to JCCs and Jewish day schools in 33 states since January. Most of the calls came two weeks ago. Police believe he might have made similar threats in Israel, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

FBI traced Mr. Kaydar’s phone calls back to a service called SpoofCard. The service allows users to mask their caller ID so phone calls come from a anonymous number not tied to nay identity.

Unless the FBi sends the company a subpoena, as happened in this case. The New Jersey-based TelTech handed over the number, which was tied to a disposable Google Voice line used with an alias.

Server logs from TelTech and Google didn’t help, but did demonstrate the suspect routed internet connection through proxy servers overseas. The caller’s voice was anonymous as Spoofcard’s voice changing option made him sound like a woman.

The perpetrator paid for the Spoofcard in Bitcoin.

The bomb threats, amde in six waves, led to evacuations at Jewish centers and day schools.

Ultimately, the bomb “hoaxer” neglected to route his internet through a proxy server, leaving a real IP address from Israel where Kayday allegedly used a giant antenna pointed out a window in his home.

It turns out, he is Jewish, and there’s yet to be a motive. His lawyer said a brain tumor since age 14, which affects his behavior, aqccording to the lawyer.

The U.S. Justice Department has yet to say if Kaydar will face U.S. charges andpossible extradition. Attorney General Jeff Sessions commended the FBI and the Israeli National Police for the arrest.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans,” he said, “and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

Undercover cops and domestic abuse victims to conceal number from an ex use SpoofCard and services like it

In 2007 a gang of hone hackers out of Texas used the service in a “swatting” campaign against their enemies. They would spoof a victim’s phone number, call the police and claim to be holding hostages. Police would storm the victim’s house, guns drawn.

“SpoofCard is aware of the investigation regarding phone-based bomb threats to schools and organizations,” the company wrote in a statement. “We take great pride in the fact that for over 10 years we have helped people protect their privacy and that we have always held a consistent position against any misuse of our services. When requested, we comply quickly and responsibly with lawful requests from all levels of law enforcement, and we have built specific tools to prevent abuse.

 

Man Stashes Cash & Gold Around Northern Colorado

A Colorado man has people in the Northern part of the state rushing to find the cash and gold he stashes around the area per a treasure hunt he conducts on social media.

Related: Treasure Hunter Who Stole Gold Bars Arrested in Florida 

Man Stashes Cash & Gold Around Northern Colorado

The man, who wants to only go by Matt, started a Facebook page last month called ‘Northern Colorado Treasure Hunters.’

He now has 4,000 followers. That might have something to do with his giving away gold.

“Quite honestly, it was just an idea I had. I started the page and it went from there, just snow balled out of control. It’s been fun,” Matt said.

During the week, Matt stashes either cash or gold somewhere in northern Colorado. After snapping a photo, and posting it on social media, people then must look for clues in markings and landmarks to track down the prize. This has led to people getting outside in parks and fields trying to find the hidden treasures.

“We try to do it every time. I have their text alerts so as soon as it hits, I get it,” Courtney Beers said.

“It’s a fun thing to be able to do as a family, especially with the weather being so nice,” Rebecca Garcia said.

Matt hopes to attract business as sponsors so he can offer bigger prizes.

“I plan on doing it for a long time,” Matt said. “It gets people out and about. They have fun and it gives families something to do. And there is incentive at the end of the tunnel. That’s what I like about it. To watch everyone get hyped up about it and run around the parks.” The activities have indeed brought families together.

“It’s just something to do with the kids and they like looking for things, kind of like Easter,” Colton Phelps said.

“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s a lot of fun. Gives people an excuse to get out and go find stuff, see new places,” Cameron Espinoza said.

NTR’s “Modern-day Pablo Escobar” Will Fight Laundering Case

Juan Pablo Granda was employed by NTR Metals to go into the Latin America jungle and buy gold. U.S. investigators eventually caught on that this practice could have been abetting cocaine traffickers turn their money into cash. NTR made efforts to evaluate their business practices, hiring Jones Day to review its business practices. Granda said he would help.

Related: NTR’s “Modern-day Pablo Escobar” Will Fight Laundering Case

NTR

When NTR flew him home last week, he didn’t exect to be fired. But that’s what happened. Then his mother called from the home they shared in Miami.

“Listen, I’ve got all these FBI agents here, they might want to arrest you,” she said. “So he got into his car and went to mom’s house and they arrested him.”

The 35-year old was arrested for conspiracy to commit money laundering per the network in which NTR helped launder international drug dealer funds.  Granda was denied bail on Monday.

“The scope of this is enormous, and right in the middle of it is Mr. Granda,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Maderal told the judge.

Maderal says Granda has handled over $200 million in gold, and earned tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks. NTR bought Peruvian gold from illegal mines, and thus supported human trafficking, forced labor and environmental destruction. NTR’s Miami office laundered billions for Peruvian narco-terrorists.

“Gold smuggling goes hand-in-hand with narcotics trafficking,” Maderal said.

U.S. Customers records show NTR likely began purchasing illegally mined gold in Peru starting in 2012, as Bloomberg reports.

The complaint, which suggests NTR imported $3.6 billion worth from 2012 to 2015, says the wholesale gold distributor started “smuggling illegal gold through a shifting array of Latin American countries.”

 

 

Silver Institute: Institutional Investors Pushing Silver Higher

Silver has increased in value 9 percent since the start of the year, largely due to improving sentiment among institutional investors. But, in the past couple weeks, many of the gains in 2017 have been erased. 

Related: How to Start Your Own Gold Dealer Website

“Changing expectations towards the outlook for U.S. interest rates and the proliferation of negative policy rates across other key reserve currencies has rekindled institutional investor interest in precious metals,” according to the Silver Institute. “Meanwhile, a marked improvement in silver industrial offtake, led by photovoltaics, which achieved a record high last year, is also helping.  All these factors in turn have fueled investment inflows into silver futures, options, exchange traded products (ETPs) and over-the-counter products.”

silverprice

A forthcoming U.S. Fed rate hike this month led to precious metals sales. 2016 marked silver’s first yearly rise in a 9 percent increase.

“Turning to physical investment, sales of silver bars and coins in 2016 fell from 2015’s record high, due to a downturn in U.S. and Indian demand, the world’s two largest markets, according to Metals Focus, the precious metals consultancy based in London,” writes the Silver Institute. “In part, this reflected some market saturation after several years of very strong demand. The price recovery also meant that 2016 saw no repeat of the surge in bargain hunting seen in 2015.”

Michael DiRienzo, Executive Director of the Silver Institute: “We expect that the factors that buoyed institutional silver investment over much of 2016, and have carried over into the early months of 2017, will remain relevant for the remainder of this year.”

If institutional demand can maintain silver’s gains on the year before March has yet to be seen. 

NTR Launders Money for “Modern-Day Pablo Escobar”




A conspiracy involving employees at NTR Metals was outlined in a criminal complaint against Juan Pablo Granda, 35, and implicates the North American precious metals refinery and trading company in a litany of serious actions.

The conspiracy involved the purchase of massive amounts of gold from illegal mines in Peru supporting human trafficking, forced labor and environmental devastation. The NTR Metals office in Miami laundered billions of dollars for criminal organizations like Peruvian narco-terrorists since it bought gold from their mines. It’s could be that the employees at the Miami office were not properly vetted by NTR’s corporate office, as no charges have been lodged against the company, a subsidiary of Elemetal. 

Related: Mergers In Precious Metals Market

The U.S. complaint, filed in Miami, is part of a U.S. crackdown on smugglers using gold mined in the Amazon basin illegal where laborers use fire hoses and mercury to extract the nearly pure precious metal.

Smugglers, refineries and traders supply gold  from illegal mines in Latin America, smuggling it into Miami and the international market.

A Bloomberg report outlined how one Chilean smuggler sold thousands of pounds contraband gold to NTR’s Miami office before being arrested in Santiago. NTR, based in Dallas, isn’t charged in the case. General counsel for parent company, Elemetal, did not comment.

NTR has likely been buying illegal gold since at least 2012.  The company allegedly started “smuggling illegal gold through a shifting array of Latin American countries.” The company eventually imported $3.6 billion worth from 2012 to 2015, according to the complaint.

“For all of the billions of dollars’ worth shipped from Latin America to NTR in Miami, NTR sent billions of dollars in wire payments to Latin America from the United States,” HSI agent Colberd Almeida wrote in an affidavit.

Chilean smuggler, Harold Vilches, told U.S. and Chilean prosecutors that he sold 4,000 pounds of illegal gold mostly to NTR Metals Miami. Mr. Vilches said two NTR employees in Miami knew his gold was illegal and even coached him on how to smuggle it into the U.S.

In 2013, Peru seized $18 million, including some headed for NTR financed by narcotics money laundering.

Several Latin America  countries have begun investigations, “many of which involve gold being sold to NTR,” Almeida wrote.

Ecuador arrested in a $400 million money laundering scheme involving gold mined in Peru and bound for NTR, the agent wrote. Chile arrested individuals regarding Peru and Argentina gold sold to NTR. NTR bought Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Guyana and the Caribbean from what the U.S. calls “highly suspicious gold imports.” One of these sellers refered to himself as a “modern-day Pablo Escobar.”  

According to the complaint, he said: “I’m like Pablo coming to Ecuador to get the coke.” 

Dark Web Gun Runner Overdoses in front of Court to Try and Avoid Sentencing



A man who went by the darknet alias of Walter Mitty tried to overdose and take his own life outside of a court, before a judge was set to sentence the UK man, for a second time. His ploy failed, and the judge sentenced him to jail anyway.

Justin Young, 45, was taken to the hospital after drinking an entire bottle of whisky and swallowing a huge dose of prescription medicine, according to The Sun out of the United Kingdom. 

He was about to face the music for the illegal importation of assault rifle parts via the dark web. The judge jailed him for eight years while Mr. Young was being treated in the Royal Cornwall hospital for his self-inflicted wounds.

Walt-sunuk

The court learned how Mr. Young was a “normal” man who eventually “went off the rails.” In his ‘Walter Mitty’ delusion he crafted, he seemingly led the life of the protagonist of the hit show Breaking Bad, Walter White.

Having pleaded guilty to three counts of “conspiring to fraudulently avoid prohibition on the importation of illegal firearm parts,” Mr. Young was caught red-handed for importing rifles, including AR-15s.

This was not the first, but indeed the second time Mr. Young tried to overdose before being sentenced OUTSIDE of court. The first time he was simply arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

As he tried to die this most recent time, he handed police a note to his wife and children in which he explained his intention to commit suicide.

The darknet has been subject of much controversy since the Silk Road, the first underground marketplace where users could trade bitcoins for assorted illicit goods, was taken down by the FBI.

Subsequent darknet marketplaces were launched and global law enforcement agencies have banded together to track commerce originated from such darknet marketplaces.

Such a marketplace was made possibly by the advent of Bitcoin technology. A decentralized digital currency in which users can transact pseudonymously.

Spanish Government Limits Cash Withdrawals to €1,000



The Spanish Government acted today to cap cash payments at €1,000, down from the current cap of  €2,500. Anti-fraud measures enacted today include a VAT information and increased regulation of deferred payments.

The government is working on measures against fraud, including limiting the payment in cash to 1,000 euros instead of the current 2,500. The decree is set to be approved by the Council of Ministers next Friday. The Ministry of Finance admits  it could be delayed. Read More

India Considers Ban on Gold Imports to Undermine Black Market

Is India thinking about banning gold imports?

That could be as the trade body Indian Bullion & Jewellers Association (IBJA) informed its 2500 members through text that the government is considering a ban on gold imports into the country per part of a larger crackdown on black money. Read More

How a Bitcoin Accepting Securities Lawyer Profited from Cubs Game 7 Victory

Wrigleyville erupted after the Chicago Cubs won Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

Adam Tracy, Chicago-based securities lawyer and big time White Sox fan, thought about it the night before the ‘loveable losers’ clinched November 2 their first World Series victory in 108 years, vanquishing the Cleveland Indians.

To be honest, he was a  bit sour about the North Siders potentially going all the way. He figured, win or lose, there’d be some sort of rioting. Maybe he’d make some money off it to make himself feel better. Read More

Royal Mint Employee Steals £133,000 in Gold By Putting it Up His Rearend

Gold-Brit-Sov-Pre-1933What if the  Gold Sovereigns you were looking to buy had been up someone’s bum?

The Royal Mint has been known for beautiful gold and silver bullion products at the national mint level. Their Britannia is not so common in the US, but is in Europe and, of course, the United Kingdom.

Read More