Man pleads guilty in international financial hacking scheme

NEWARK, N.J. – A Georgia man on Thursday admitted he participated in an international hacking scheme that prosecutors said used stolen news releases to make $30 million in profits.

Arkadiy Dubovoy pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

The 51-year-old Alpharetta, Georgia, resident was one of nine people arrested in the United States and Ukraine who were described as computer hackers or stock traders. The Securities and Exchange Commission also charged them and 23 other individuals and companies in the U.S. and Europe.

Authorities said that between 2010 and 2015, the group gained access to more than 150,000 press releases that were about to be issued by Marketwired; PR Newswire in New York; and Business Wire of San Francisco. The press releases contained earnings figures and other corporate information.

The defendants then used roughly 800 of those news releases to make trades before the information came out, exploiting a time gap ranging from hours to three days.

Prosecutors said the group was able to get inside the news services’ computer systems by “phishing,” a well-known practice in which hackers send an email with a seemingly innocuous link that, if clicked on, can eventually lead to the divulging of the user’s login and password information.

The charges were filed in federal court in Newark because some of the trades were done in New Jersey.

Two others connected to the scheme have pleaded guilty.