The Online Shop for Criminals Shut Down


The founding member of a global criminal website responsible for tens of millions of euro of credit card crime is facing a lengthy jail term. The Times reports that Renukanth Subramaniam, 33, set up Darkmarket, which enabled criminals to buy the stolen credit card details of hundreds of thousands of people.

Renukanth Subramaniam, the cheeky scamp

“In between delivering pizzas he used an internet café in Wembley, northwest London, to create the site that was described by investigators as a ‘shop window for criminality’. Fraudsters could learn how to steal personal information from banks and individuals and buy the equipment to do so,” says a Times report.

Used by lone criminals and organised gangs in Russia, Turkey, Germany, Britain, Israel, the US, Canada and France, Darkmarket, contained 2,000 names and now has the dubious honour of being the biggest English-speaking site that the Serious Organised Crime Agency has ever taken offline.

To get into the Darkmarket community, each member had to provide details of 100 compromised cards that were tested to see how much could be made from them. If the results were good the member would be admitted. Despite this an FBI agent was still able to infiltrate the site and identify Subramaniam.

Credit card details were stolen by hackers, taken from false ATM fronts and by spam e-mails as well as by criminals recording the details when cards were used at petrol stations, with each one selling for about £50.

Subramaniam, from Colombo, Sri Lanka, is certainly the determined type, having set up the site in 2005 after another that he belonged to — Shadow Crew— was infiltrated by US agents and shut down.

Subramaniam admitted conspiracy to defraud and mortgage frauds at at Blackfriars Crown Court this week while another defendant, John McHugh, also admitted conspiracy to defraud. The pair will be sentenced later.

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