Secret Service posts $2 million reward to help catch Ukrainians wanted in cyber-crime scheme

Two Kyiv-born suspects are accused of reaping huge profits by hacking into SEC database.

Updated: July 23, 2020 - 12:50pm

The U.S. Secret Service has offered an unprecedented and hefty prize for help in capturing two Ukrainians the agency says are among its "most wanted cybercriminals." 

"Can you help?" the agency tweeted on Wednesday. "Anyone with information leading to the arrest/conviction of these two #cyber criminals may receive up to a million dollars for each."

The suspects are Artem Radchenko, 28, and Oleksandr Ieremenko, 28, the Secret Service says. The men were charged with hacking into the Securities and Exchange Commission's data system, and earning more than $4.5 million by selling and trading on proprietary information.

"For over a year, Radchenko, Ieremenko, and their sophisticated network used specialized hacking strategies to breach the SEC's network and steal countless documents not yet available to the trading public," the Secret Service tweeted on July 22.

The Secret Service is determined to catch the two Kyiv-born suspects. Hence, the sizable reward offers.

"This case marks the first instance for the agency of a monetary award offer in soliciting assistance from the global public," the agency wrote in a press release.

"For the first time in agency history, we are able to strategically leverage resources worldwide in the pursuit of a wanted fugitive charged with the exploitation and manipulation of our financial systems," U.S. Secret Service Director James M. Murray said in a statement.

Last year, Radchenko and Ieremenko were charged in a 16-count indictment in New Jersey accusing them of securities fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, computer fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and computer fraud.

In a January 2019 announcement, the Justice Department outlined what it said were elements of the scheme.

For more than a year commencing in February 2016, the Justice Department wrote, Radchenko, Ieremenko, and others conspired to hack into the SEC's EDGAR system, where publicly traded companies file important financial disclosures. 

"Armed with the stolen information, the traders profited by executing various trades in brokerage accounts they controlled," officials wrote.

On Wednesday, the Secret Service posted the two suspects' photographs and physical descriptions on Twitter.

"Individuals seeking to assist in this U.S. Secret Service-led investigation may email or contact their local U.S. Secret Service field office directly," the agency wrote in a statement. 

As of early Thursday morning local time in Kyiv, the two suspects remain at large.