Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, Russian National Pleads Guilty -
Conspiracy to Plant Malware on Tesla Systems
March 23, 2021
Defendant’s attempt to recruit employee to transmit malware to
exfiltrate data and extort company thwarted by FBI
A Russian national pleaded guilty in federal court today for
conspiring to travel to the United States to recruit an employee of
a Nevada company into a scheme to introduce malicious software into
the company’s computer network.
According to court documents and admissions made in court, from July
15, 2020, to Aug. 22, 2020, Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, 27, conspired
with others to recruit an employee of a large U.S. company to
transmit malware provided by the conspirators into the company’s
computer network. Once the malware was installed, Kriuchkov and his
co-conspirators would use it to exfiltrate data from the company’s
computer network and then extort the company by threatening to
disclose the data.
As part of the conspiracy, Kriuchkov traveled from Russia to
California through New York. On numerous occasions between Aug. 1,
2020, and Aug. 21, 2020, Kriuchkov traveled from California to
Nevada in an attempt to entice the employee to participate in this
hacking scheme, offering to pay the employee with Bitcoin if the
employee transmitted the malware. After meeting with Kriuchkov, the
employee reported his conduct to the victim company, which promptly
contacted the FBI. The FBI then thwarted the scheme.
“The swift response of the company and the FBI prevented a major
exfiltration of the victim company’s data and stopped the extortion
scheme at its inception,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General
Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
“This case highlights the importance of companies coming forward to
law enforcement, and the positive results when they do so.”
“This case highlights our office’s commitment to protecting trade
secrets and other confidential information belonging to U.S.
businesses — which is becoming even more important each day as
Nevada evolves into a center for technological innovation,” said
Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada.
“Along with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to
prioritize stopping cybercriminals from harming American companies
is an excellent example of community outreach resulting in strong
partnerships, which led to proactive law enforcement action before
any damage could occur,” said Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse
of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office.
Kriuchkov pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to intentionally
cause damage to a protected computer and is scheduled to be
sentenced May 10.
The investigation was led by the FBI Las Vegas Field Office with the
assistance of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office, the FBI Sacramento
Field Office, and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Counsel C.S. Heath and Trial
Attorney Thomas Dettore of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime
and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney
Richard Casper of the District of Nevada.