Ukrainian Oleksandr Ieremenko, 30, tops a recently re-launched Most Wanted List from the U.S. Secret Service.
We say “tops” because Ieremenko and a colleague each have a $1 million reward for information on their whereabouts.
The U.S. wants Ieremenko for 2010 hacks into newswires that host business press releases. The stolen releases provided insider knowledge regarding companies in advance of public release.
The Secret Service says Ieremenko conducted the hacks to provide valuable – and illegal – insider information to Russian and other investors. The newswires he is accused of hacking into are Marketwired, PR Newswire, and Business Wire.
The Secret Service says Ieremenko and his co-conspirators stole 150,000 press releases containing “material, non-public information” and used that information to generate more than $30 million in illicit trading profits.
After being indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury in 2015, Ieremenko the next year allegedly hacked into the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to obtain material, non-public information on public companies.
In both hacking cases, Ieremenko provided the information he stole to traders who profited from the “insider” information.
Some members of Ukraine’s Intelligence Service also blackmailed Ieremenko, according to some news reports. The intelligence officers told Ieremenko they would extradite him to the U.S. unless he paid them. He did, and they released him.
The stories don’t say how much Ieremenko, allegedly unaware Ukraine has no extradition treaty with the U.S., paid. He was then released because although Ukraine had arrested him, it failed to charge him, claiming a lack of information from the U.S.
Ieremenko also fell in with a nefarious investments firm, which capitalized on his ability to hack into the SEC’s EDGAR database. According to The Verge, Ieremenko realized two years later that the owner of the investments firm was using investor money and company profits for his benefit.
The Verge story says the owner threatened Ieremenko; possibly even had him severely beaten. But this owner also failed to pay the thugs, and The Verge suggests they then spirited Ieremenko to Russia.
Ieremenko faces a nearly $319 million fine from a default judgment by a New Jersey federal court for failing to appear. The amount is three times “the defendant’s gross profits,” according to the order.