November 11, 2004 10:51 AM PST

Police arrest phishing mob suspect

A suspected Russian gangster and phishing scam operator, caught with $200,000 in stolen goods and $15,000 cash, has been charged on several counts of identity fraud and credit card fraud.

Brighton District Court in Boston ordered Andrew Schwarmkoff, 28, to be held on $100,000 bail for the fraud charges. Schwarmkoff was allegedly found to have the personal details of more than 100 victims, who police believe were scammed through phishing e-mails, the Boston Herald reported Tuesday.

U.S. Marshals also have issued a detainer for Schwarmkoff, who has been given fugitive status for similar charges in Georgia. The Boston Herald reported that the FBI is investigating Schwarmkoff in New Jersey.

Police are said to be undecided whether they have positively identified Schwarmkoff, who is also thought to be an illegal immigrant.

The FBI warned Wednesday of the threat of organized crime's involvement in phishing scams and other identity fraud. In phishing, fraudsters send out e-mails to lure people into handing over their passwords and financial data, typically at a fake Web site. Customers of banks and e-commerce companies such as eBay have suffered such fraud.

Dan Ilett of ZDNet UK reported from London.


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