Stolen Social Security numbers sold online netted $19 million, feds say. Man sentenced

A man made millions of dollars running an online marketplace that sold stolen Social Security numbers belonging to U.S. citizens, federal prosecutors said.

The series of websites, dubbed the SSNDOB Marketplace, earned more than $19 million from sales over the years — especially during the early COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

Vitalii Chychasov, a 37-year-old Ukrainian national, personally earned at least $5 million as an administrator of the marketplace that was established in August 2017, according to court documents filed Nov. 20.

Millions of Social Security numbers, along with names and dates of birth, were sold through the platform, prosecutors said. It’s unclear who the buyers were.

When a person’s Social Security number is stolen, whoever possesses it can potentially commit fraud, such as “tax fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, loan fraud, and credit card fraud,” according to prosecutors.

The SSNDOB marketplace is no longer in operation after the FBI and IRS seized its domain names in June 2022, prosecutors said.

SSNDOB Marketplace domain seized.
SSNDOB Marketplace domain seized.

Its services were advertised over the dark web by Chychasov and other administrators, according to prosecutors, who didn’t publicly identify others involved.

In March 2022, Chychasov was arrested when he tried entering Hungary, which shares a border with Ukraine and was extradited to the U.S. months later.

Now, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has sentenced Chychasov to eight years in federal prison, the attorney’s office announced in a Nov. 28 news release.

McClatchy News contacted Chychasov’s defense attorneys, Arkady Bukh and Jonathan Hackworth for comment on Nov. 29 and didn’t receive an immediate response.

As part of Chychasov’s sentencing, the court ordered the forfeiture of $5 million, the profits he made, and ordered him to give up his interest in the online marketplace’s domain names: BLACKJOB.BIZ, SSNDOB.CLUB, SSNDOB.VIP, and SSNDOB.WS, according to prosecutors.

Chychasov and other SSNDOB marketplace administrators used different methods to remain anonymous and evade authorities before the scheme unraveled, including by “strategically maintaining servers in various countries, and requiring buyers to use digital payment methods,” prosecutors said.

Ahead of his sentencing, Chychasov asked the court to sentence him to a “non-guideline sentence of time served,” according to a memorandum filed by his attorneys on Nov. 20.

His attorneys wrote that their client has been detained for nearly 19 months since he was arrested in the case and that his “prolonged detention already serves as a powerful deterrence for (him).”

They said that Chychasov’s family lives in Ukraine, close to the war zone, and need his help.

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has lasted more than 650 days, The Associated Press reported on Nov. 29. While NATO believes around 300,000 Russians have died due to the conflict, it hasn’t specified how many Ukrainians may have died, according to the outlet.

Chychasov’s attorneys asked the government to consider how his sentence will affect his parents, wife and children, who they said “desperately need his assistance, guidance, and love while suffering the consequences of being in a country being destroyed by Russian army’s daily bombing and the scarcity of food, shelter, and adequate health care.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors emphasized in court filings that “having a social security number stolen and used is a deeply personal and violative experience.”

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