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A Florida man has been indicted for scheming to make illicit payments to an official at a credit union that prosecutors say facilitated an illegal bitcoin exchange owned by an Israeli linked to cyberattacks on companies including JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Yuri Lebedev, 37, pleaded not guilty on Friday to a one-count indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said on Monday. Lebedev was arrested in July along with a Florida man, Anthony Murgio, for engaging in a conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business. Murgio was indicted on Nov. 10 when prosecutors unveiled related charges against three men accused of running a sprawling computer hacking and fraud scheme.
Prosecutors said two Israelis, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, and an American, Joshua Samuel Aaron, ran a criminal enterprise that hacked into a dozen companies' networks, stealing personal information of over 100 million people. The companies included JPMorgan, which prosecutors said had records stolen belonging to more than 83 million customers.
Lebedev, a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, was not accused of engaging in the hacking offenses or many of the related alleged crimes they helped facilitate, including a series of stock manipulation frauds. But prosecutors previously said he supervised the computer programming functions of an unlicensed bitcoin exchange operated by Murgio and owned by Shalon called Coin.mx that exchanged millions of dollars of the virtual currency for customers. Prosecutors said Murgio as part of the scheme obtained beneficial control of a New Jersey-based federal credit union and installed individuals on the board including Lebedev.
The indictment against Lebedev said he participated in a conspiracy to make corrupt payments to a senior executive at the credit union in order to gain control over it. The credit union was Helping Other People Excel Federal Credit Union of Jackson, New Jersey, which federal regulators liquidated last month.
A lawyer for Lebedev did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.