Two Defendants Plead Responsible for Their Roles Serving to Cybercriminals Launder Cash as A part of the QQAAZZ Group | USAO-WDPA

PITTSBURGH – Two people have pleaded guilty to their roles in cybercriminal money laundering organization QQAAZZ. On August 6 and July 13, two of the accused, Arturs Zaharevics and Aleksejs Trofimovics, pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in the Western District of Pennsylvania. QQAAZZ was a Europe-based money laundering organization that made illegal withdrawals and cryptocurrency transactions possible for computer hackers and their employees. A total of 20 people were charged under this ruling.

In order to promote the QQAAZZ criminal conspiracy, Trofimovics registered a mailbox company in Portugal under his own name that was not doing legitimate business. Trofimovics then opened at least thirteen corporate bank accounts in Portugal on behalf of the mailbox company to enable QQAAZZ to receive and launder money stolen by cyber criminals from victims and their respective financial institutions. Several of these Portuguese accounts received or were designed to receive funds stolen from US victims.

Arturs Zaharevics was successfully delivered from the UK in April. To encourage QQAAZZ’s criminal conspiracy, Zaharevics set up a mailbox company under a false name and set up foreign bank accounts on behalf of this mailbox company that sought to receive or accept funds stolen from US victims.

The acting US Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the responsible FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent Mike Nordwall announced today.

“Transnational money laundering organizations like the QQAAZZ Group play a critical role in helping cybercriminals benefit from their systems. The guilty confessions announced today reflect our continued commitment to crush these harmful groups by working with our overseas partners. The guilty confessions further demonstrate our commitment to prosecute such criminals in other parts of the world and to ensure that they are brought to justice in our US courts, ”said Acting US Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman of the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“These people operated a money laundering system that worked with cyber criminals who stole unsuspecting victims in the US and around the world,” said Mike Nordwall, the FBI Pittsburgh special agent in charge. “Your confessions of guilt are proof that no one can hide behind a computer or an international border. The FBI goes into numerous efforts to combat cyber threats, from improving threat detection and information sharing to examining how we operate to disrupt and mitigate them. Partnerships are an integral part of our daily work, and the global partners in this research have enabled us all to combine tools, skills and knowledge to form a stronger team to put these criminals out of business. “

According to the factual bases for the two admissions of guilt and the various instruments of prosecution in this case, QQAAZZ members, in collaboration with cybercriminals around the world, conspired to launder money stolen from computer fraud victims in the US and elsewhere. More than 40 house searches were carried out in Latvia, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy, with prosecutions initiated in the United States, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Most of the searches and arrests in Latvia were carried out by the Latvian State Police (Latvijas Valsts Policija), and an extensive bitcoin mining operation related to the group was seized in Bulgaria. Europol and several law enforcement agencies across Europe worked with the United States to develop parallel investigations and prosecutions against QQAAZZ members in their own countries.

The investigation was carried out by the FBI. The Department of Justice’s International Affairs Bureau and law enforcement partners in the UK and Latvia secured the arrest of the accused abroad.

The case is being prosecuted by trial attorney Michael Parker of the Department of Money Laundering and Asset Recovery of the Department of Justice of the United States Department of Justice, U.S. Assistant Attorney Charles A. “Death” Eberle, director of national security and cybercrime for the Western District, of Pennsylvania and U.S. Assistant Attorney Brian Czarnecki of the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Former Pittsburgh-area Doctor Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Prescribing Opioids, Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering | USAO-WDPA

PITTSBURGH – A former doctor pleaded guilty in federal court of drug diversion, health fraud and money laundering related to his holistic medical practice in suburban Pittsburgh, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman said today.

Andrzej Kazimierz Zielke, 66, from Allison Park, Pennsylvania 15101 (Hampton) confessed to senior US District Judge Nora. Barry Fischer guilty of unlawful supply and distribution of List II controlled substances, one health fraud and one money laundering case,

In connection with the admission of guilt, the court was informed that Zielke is owned by Medical Frontiers, LLC, an alleged pain management practice based in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. On or about October 3, 2017, May 25, 2017, October 3, 2017, and December 17, 2014, Zielke knowingly distributed List II drugs, including oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone, to four patients outside of professional treatment practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Zielke has committed health fraud by fraudulently making Medicaid claims for payments to cover the cost of illegally prescribed drugs. Finally, Zielke broke federal money laundering laws when he arranged for about $ 150,000 in proceeds from his illicit drug trafficking to be transferred from a bank account to Kitco Metals, Inc. in Canada to purchase silver and collector coins.

“We are intensely focused on reducing the supply of illicit opioids to our communities, whether street-corner dealers or abusing their doctor’s oath by prescribing pain medication for no legitimate medical reason,” said acting US Attorney Kaufman. “We will continue our critical work to prosecute all those who fuel our nation’s ongoing opioid crisis.”

“Mr. Zielke has created a lucrative program to sell opioids while undermining our health care system with fraudulent billing,” said Mike Nordwall, Special Representative for the Pittsburgh FBI. “Unethical, corrupt doctors who choose to fill their pockets, are driving up health care costs for everyone. The FBI is committed to holding those who believe they will not be caught accountable. “

“Andrzej Zielke ruthlessly smuggled opioids into the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, fueling the climax of the epidemic that kills 13 Pennsylvanians every day,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “We are working closely with our federal partners to address this crisis that continues to destroy families and communities in Pennsylvania.”

Judge Fisher scheduled the conviction for November 1, 2021. The law provides for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $ 500,000.00 fine, or both for controlled substance offenses. Zielke faces an additional maximum 10 years per charge and a $ 250,000.00 fine for health fraud charges; and a maximum penalty of 10 years per charge and a US $ 250,000.00 fine for money laundering offenses. Under federal constitutional guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based on the gravity of the offense and the criminal record of the accused, if any. According to the Federal Constitutional Guidelines, the penalty actually imposed depends on the gravity of the offense and any previous convictions of the accused.

The court continued Zielke on bail until the judgment was announced.

Assistant Attorney General Robert S. Cessar and Attorney General Summer Carroll of the Pennsylvania Attorney General are pursuing this case on behalf of the government.

The investigation that led to the filing of charges in this case was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit (OFADU). The Western Pennsylvania OFADU, led by federal attorneys from the US Attorney’s Office, combines the expertise and resources of federal and state law enforcement agencies to address the role of unethical medical professionals in the opioid epidemic. The agencies that make up OFADU in western Pennsylvania include: Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Pennsylvania Office Attorney General – Bureau of Narcotic Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Attorney General – Criminal Division, Civil Division and Asset Forfeiture Unit, Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General, Food and Drug Administration- Office of Criminal Investigations, USA Office of Personnel Management – Office of Inspector General and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Licensing.