A man received a prison sentence for his part in helping to “cash out” ransom payments made by victims of a specific ransomware family.
On 19th of August, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the sentencing of Raymond Odigie Uadiale, 41, of Maple Valley, Washington to eighteen months in jail and three years of supervised release.
This ruling came after Raymond Odigie Uadiale pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a ransomware scheme. In exchange for his plea deal, the U.S. government dismissed one count of substantive money laundering.
According to court documents, Raymond Odigie Uadiale helped convert the ransom payments made by victims of Reveton ransomware from MoneyPak funds into cash. Raymond Odigie Uadiale kept a portion of the ransomware proceeds for himself. He then transferred upwards of 70% of the ransom payments to Reveton’s distributor, who lived in the United Kingdom.
Between October 2012 and the 27th of March 2013, the Washington State resident transferred $93,630 via the Liberty Reserve virtual currency platform to his co-conspirator. Mr. Uadiale later got a job with Microsoft as a network engineer after he ceased his participation in the Reveton scheme.
Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, feels the sentence is an appropriate response to Mr. Uadiale’s crimes. As quoted in a DOJ press release:
By cashing out and then laundering victim payments, Raymond Uadiale played an essential role in an international criminal operation that victimized unsuspecting Americans by infecting their computers with malicious ransomware. This conviction and sentence is another demonstration of the Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecuting cybercriminals and shutting down the networks they use to launder their criminal proceeds. We are grateful for the outstanding collaboration of our U.S. and international law enforcement partners in this very successful investigation.
This isn’t the first time that law enforcement has caught up with ransomware criminals. In the spring of 2017, Japanese authorities arrested a 14-year-old for allegedly creating and spreading ransomware.
The best way organizations as well as users can protect themselves against ransomware is by preventing an infection in the first place.