AlphaBay vendor, IcyEagle, sentenced to four years and two months imprisonment

There’s a follow-up to a case previously noted on this site. From the USAO, Northern District of Georgia:

Aaron James Glende a.k.a. IcyEagle has been sentenced to four years and two months’ imprisonment for access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.  Glende sold stolen personally identifying information and login credentials on AlphaBay Market, a website operating in the so-called “Dark Web,” where anonymity software is used to hide the identities of website visitors.

“Glende sold stolen bank account information and other login credentials on AlphaBay, a ‘Dark Web’ website devoted to the anonymous sale of criminal goods and services, including weapons, stolen credit cards, and illegal narcotics,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “In the process, he didn’t care who he hurt, or the effects on the victims’ lives.  The United States Attorney’s Office recently established our Cybercrime Unit to identify, investigate and, ultimately, prosecute cybercrimes just like this one.”

“The sentencing of Glende to federal prison reflects the commitment of the FBI, along with its various law enforcement partners, to aggressively pursue those criminal elements lurking in the Dark Web and attempting to hide behind TOR devices or sites,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.  “This case generated numerous victims with varied degrees of financial losses but, with today’s sentencing, the FBI hopes that these victims can have some solace that Glende, a.k.a. IcyEagle, is being held fully accountable for his criminal actions.”

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: From about November 5, 2015, until May 4, 2016, Aaron Glende, a.k.a. IcyEagle, advertised and sold stolen personally identifying information on a hidden services website.

The website contained numerous features to assist prospective buyers who wished to purchase criminal services and goods.  For example, the website contained search categories corresponding to various criminal services; those categories included “Fraud,” “Drugs & Chemicals,” “Counterfeit Items,” “Weapons,” and “Carded Items.”  Much like Amazon or eBay, website users could rate sellers and search for certain items or sellers by name.  Unlike Amazon and eBay, however, transactions on the website were typically executed through Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that helps hide the identities of buyers and sellers.

A review of the website revealed that Glende, using the online nickname IcyEagle, had approximately 300 listings advertising login credentials or personally identifying information for sale, including bank account credentials.  For example, one listing by Glende described accounts for sale as “High Balance SunTrust Logins 30K-150K Available.”  Glende wrote in the sales listing: “I bring you freshly hacked Sun Trust Bank Account Logins.”

On multiple dates in March and April 2016, an FBI agent, acting in an undercover capacity, accessed the AlphaBay website.   While on the website, the agent purchased bank account information from Glende.  A review of the information purchased from Glende confirmed that it contained usernames, passwords, physical addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and bank account numbers that belonged to bank customers.  A search of Glende’s computer after his arrest revealed that he possessed over 2,800 unauthorized access devices, including 944 usernames and passwords for bank accounts, 1,243 usernames and passwords for other electronic accounts, 123 Social Security numbers, 386 credit card numbers, and 123 bank account numbers.

On November 30, 2016, Aaron James Glende, 35 of Winona, Minnesota, was sentenced to four years and two months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.  He pleaded guilty to access device fraud and aggravated identity theft on September 21, 2016.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistance was provided by Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Winona, Minnesota Police Department.


Update: Catalin Cimpanu kindly pointed out to me that this entire bust occurred because  Post Office inspectors caught on that Glende was selling illegal drugs. The hacking and identity theft charges arose after law enforcement seized his computers on the drug charges.

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