Moldovan Behind E-Root Marketplace Sentenced to Federal Prison in US


A Moldovan national was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr.

Sandu Boris Diaconu, 31, was convicted of his involvement in conspiracy to commit access device and computer fraud, as well as possession of at least 15 unauthorized access devices.

According to a statement released last Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Diaconu pleaded guilty to these charges on December 1, 2023.

Court documents reveal that Diaconu was the mastermind behind E-Root Marketplace, a network of websites facilitating the sale of compromised computer access around the world, including servers owned by U.S. entities.

The market operated clandestinely, hiding the identity of its users. Through E-Root, buyers could purchase credentials that allowed them to access remote computers for nefarious purposes, such as data theft or manipulation.

“The E-Root marketplace operated on a widely distributed network and took steps to hide the identities of its administrators, buyers and sellers,” explains the Press release.

Perfect Money, an online payment system, was used to hide transactions from buyers, alongside an illicit cryptocurrency exchange service to convert Bitcoin.

The investigation revealed evidence suggesting that more than 350,000 credentials were available for sale on E-Root. The victims came from various sectors around the world, including a local government agency in Tampa.

Several victims fell prey to ransomware attacks, while stolen credentials were linked to identity theft and tax fraud schemes.

Diaconu’s arrest took place in May 2021 as he attempted to leave the United Kingdom, leading to his extradition to the United States in October 2023.

Read more about the arrest: US charges man with running stolen credentials market

The investigation, led by the IRS Cybercrimes Criminal Investigation Unit and the FBI’s Tampa Division, involved the cooperation of multiple agencies, both domestic and international.

Diaconu’s arrest comes months after Interpol published details of an operation to target the notorious West African criminal gang Black Axe, which led to 75 arrests.

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