US prosecutors presented documents before the United States District Court of California on Wed 16th March 2022 with fresh evidence indicting HushPuppi of committing fraud and money laundering in U.S Federal correctional facility. The court documents stated that Hushpuppi, while in U.S Federal correctional facility, participated in the purchase and laundering of Economic Impact Payment debit cards fraudulently obtained from stolen data of U.S citizens and residents.
Economic Impact Payments are financial support offered by the US government to U.S residents according to the CARES Act. One of the ways eligible US residents receive their Economic Impact Payments is by debit cards. From the documents presented in court, it was found that hackers use data of U.S residents to file and obtain Economic Impact Payments debit cards. They sell off these EIP cards in underground marketplaces to other cyber criminals.
In the court document, US prosecutors mentioned that inmates are allowed access to phone calls, video calls, the internet, and computers with limited usage but they are not monitored because inmates have right to their privacy. Hushpuppi also received this access like other inmates.
However, between 28th Jan and 4th Mar 2022, security officers at the US Federal correctional facility, observed more usage of the internet by Hushpuppi. Knowing that Hushpuppi was arrested for internet related crimes, they obtained a warrant to record Hushpuppi activities. A dedicated system was setup for him and his activities were recorded for 7 days.
It was found that Hushpuppi was actively buying EIP debit cards from an underground cyber criminal marketplace called StimulusCard (“https://stimuluscard.com/”). While being recorded, Hushpuppi bought a total of 58 EIP debit cards with a total value of $429,800 on the site and laundered the money through one AJ.
This story was written by journalist, Mathilde Salomé Bonnet