Mastermind Behind Dark Web Fraud Ring, Unmasked By Law Enforcement Pleads Guilty

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Octavio Andres Difo-Castro, the mastermind behind dark web identity fraud ring which was uncovered by the U.S. Secret Service has pleaded guilty to charges against him, which ranged from dark web fraud, charges, a conspiracy charge, and aggravated identity theft. He also entered into guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to commit wire dark web identity fraud, nineteen counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to access device fraud.  The 28-year-old led a pack of fraudsters who ran a multi-state dark web identity fraud enterprise with the help of the dark web.

Appearing in a U.S. District Court, the New York native admitted that he employed and influenced many individuals to use stolen information they bought on the dark web to open numerous banks accounts for their fraudulent activities. The dark web identity fraud gang was alleged to have defrauded over $1.3 million from car dealerships, retailers, finance firms and banks in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

According to the U.S Attorney’s office, Octavio instructed many of his ring members to use fake information Social security numbers, driver’s license and other documents, which he forged thanks to the stolen data he bought on the dark web to undertake fraudulent activities. The gang purchased expensive clothes, luxury cars, and other electronic devices, all thanks to the stolen information they bought on the dark web.

Image Source: techrepublic.com

Octavio also stated that he created fake ids with credentials of real owners that he had bought off the dark web to deposit and also withdraw their criminal’s proceeds at banks and other financial institutions. Octavio also admitted to disguising themselves as real owners of the fake credit card they had to obtain to pose as businessmen dealing in automobiles and their parts, to secure financial assistance from banks and other financial institutions.

One of his errand boys, 37-year-old Jason McDonald, also pleaded guilty in March to all charges against him. He was subsequently handed a 39-month prison sentence.

According to court documents, the dark web identity fraud ring, swindled $899,866 from banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, $14,067 from clothing retailers and $117,341from cell phone retailers.

Octavio’s arrest came back on August 9, last year after being named in a 32-count superseding indictment which targeted runaway members of the dark web identity fraud ring which was unmasked by U.S. Secret services. Octavio was the eighth member to be arrested and detained until further investigation revealed that he was the brain behind the multi-million, multi-state dark web identity fraud ring.

Shortly after the arrest of Octavio, his fellow New York native, and also a member of his gang were arrested. 51-year-old Angel L Morales was arrested in Fort Lauderdale while returning from a trip to the Dominican Republic. Morales’s arrest came as a result of a search warrant executed on the apartment of another member of the ring in New Jersey. Reports state that the evidence obtained implicated and gave away Morales’s identity as a co-conspirator in the dark web identity fraud gang. Octavio is scheduled to appear on January 13, 2020, for his sentencing.

Source: The Sun Chronicle


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