Investigators uncovered a trail of 75 shell companies and a hacking scheme in which the three defendants used 30 false passports from 17 countries. The group's activity goes back as far as 2007, and it has reaped “hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds,” some of it hidden in Swiss accounts and other bank accounts, prosecutors said. The data breaches “were breathtaking in their scope and size,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The crimes, described as a 21-century twist on tried-and-true criminal activity, unveiled the existence of “a brave new world of hacking for profit,” perhaps signaling the next frontier in securities fraud. The accused — two Israeli citizens and a U.S. citizen — face 23 counts of fraud and other illegal activities, according to an indictment unsealed yesterday.