Customers started calling Wells Fargo Bank in February to report money mysteriously draining from their accounts, says The Oregonian. Bank employees matched the complaints to ATM withdrawals in California. The same man appeared again and again in surveillance photos, linking him to nearly 400 victims and $463,000 in disappearing funds. At the same time, the U.S. Secret Service and the Manhattan, N.Y., district attorney’s identity theft unit were tracking a network of tech-savvy identity thieves — the “Western Express Cybercrime Group” — believed responsible for 95,000 stolen credit card numbers and more than $4 million in ID theft.
The cases collided May 30, when an Oregon teller recognized Eduard Kholstinin, a 30-year-old Russian national with “very, very attractive blue eyes.” His capture offered law enforcement officials on both coasts new insight into cybercrime, which accounts for $67.2 billion stolen each year from U.S. businesses. Using the anonymity of the Internet, cybercriminals trade stolen credit and debit card information on the international black market, then disappear with barely a digital trace.