An alleged hacker — who was believed to have been living as a fugitive in Moscow after being charged with the largest cyberattack of financial firms in America's history — has been arrested at JFK airport in New York. FBI and US secret service agents say they have arrested US national Joshua Samuel Aaron who is due to appear at a court in the city on Thursday, 15 December.
Aaron, along with Israelis Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, is suspected of illegally accessing the personal information of 100 million people between 2007 and 2015. The 32-year-old is alleged to have hacked into 12 major institutions, including JPMorgan, asset manager Fidelity and The Wall Street Journal.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Aaron on 2 June 2015, by the United States District Court and the hack was labelled the "largest theft of customer data" from an American bank in history. The Associated Press reported that defence attorney Ben Brafman said Aaron voluntarily returned to responsibly address the charges.
"Joshua Samuel Aaron allegedly worked to hack into the networks of dozens of American companies, ultimately leading to the largest theft of personal information from US financial institutions ever," the BBC quoted US Attorney Preet Bharara as saying in a statement on Wednesday.
The other two suspects, Shalon and Orenstein were arrested in Israel in July 2015, and extradited to the US in June 2016.
It has been reported that the trio's activities included pumping up stock prices, running online casinos, payment processing for criminals, managing an illegal bitcoin exchange and the laundering of money through at least 75 shell companies and accounts around the world.
The FBI say that: "Aaron allegedly acted as the stock manipulation scheme's "front-man," using the alias "Mike Shields"...to communicate with brokerage companies and co-conspirators.
"After causing a stock's price and trading volume to increase artificially during the days or weeks of the email promotional campaign, members of the conspiracy, including Aaron, began dumping, or selling, their shares of the stock in a coordinated fashion, often resulting in huge profits to members of the conspiracy."
The three men were also charged with running an illegal payment processing business where they collected $18m (£14.3m) in fees. Their complicated fraud allegedly saw them steal data of 83 million customers of JPMorgan bank.