COURT DOC: Russian Cybercriminal Convicted of Defrauding American Companies of Millions of Dollars Through Digital Advertising Scheme

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February 12, 2020

DoJ announced earlier today, Aleksandr Zhukov, a Russian national, was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn of four counts of a superseding indictment charging him with wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering. The charges arose from Zhukovs sophisticated scheme to defraud brands, ad platforms and others in the U.S. digital advertising industry out of more than $7 million.

As proven at trial, Zhukov used computer programming and infrastructure spread around the world to exploit the digital advertising industry through fraud. He and his co-conspirators represented to others that they ran legitimate companies that delivered advertisements to real human internet users accessing real internet webpages. In fact, Zhukov and his co-conspirators faked both the users and the webpages: they programmed computers they controlled to load advertisements on fabricated webpages, via an automated program, in order to fraudulently obtain digital advertising revenue.

In discussing the scheme with a co-conspirator, Zhukov boasted about the money he would earn and referred to himself as the ‘king of fraud.’ As a result of this elaborate scheme, the defendant falsified billions of ad views and caused businesses to pay more than $7 million for ads that were never actually viewed by real human internet users. Zhukov was arrested in Bulgaria in November 2018 and extradited to the United States in January 2019. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

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