The notorious bank scammer Jason Mickel Elcock, aka “Prezzi,” has been sentenced to 57 months in prison with three years of "supervised release," according to a press release from the Department of Justice. The decision, which was handed down in a Manhattan federal court, came after Elcock pled guilty in March to multiple crimes. These crimes most notably include wire fraud and money laundering linked to online schemes, which over a decade amassed tens of thousands of victims (including individuals and businesses) and cost them over $1.1 million. In addition to the primary charges, Elcock was also convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm (which happened to be a 9mm pistol seized at the time of his arrest). It also should be noted that there were co-conspirators charged and sentenced previously, most notably Elcock’s primary partner Shoshana Marie McGill, who received five year’s probation.
The online cybercrime ring that Elcock lead for a decade was brought down via a joint operation between the FBI and the NYPD. According to the DOJ press release, the full extent of Prezzi’s activities are as follows:
Between 2008 and 2018, Elcock, co-defendant Shoshana Marie McGill, and other co-conspirators participated in a scheme to defraud banks and e-commerce retailers by using stolen personal identifying information (“PII”), bank account information, and credit and debit card data from tens of thousands of individuals and businesses for personal financial gain. Elcockand his co-conspirators acquired PII and financial account data in part by buying the information from criminal websites. They also hacked into victims’ email accounts to steal personal information stored in those accounts, into victims’ online bank accounts to download copies of their checks, and into victims’ digital password vaults to pilfer their usernames and passwords. Elcock then monetized the stolen data in various ways, including by: (1) using the stolen credit card information to buy merchandise and services from e-commerce retailers for resale or for personal use; (2) using stolen PII to open new lines of credit in his victims’ names without their permission; (3) transferring money electronically out of victims’ bank accounts; and (4) creating and cashing fraudulent checks issued against victims’ bank accounts.
While the DOJ is patting itself on the back about the conclusion of this case, the reality is that Prezzi’s cybercrime ring was allowed to operate for far too long. This is why it is so vital for cybersecurity professionals to work twice as hard as the criminals we try to stop. It is also vital that the public educates themselves on common cybercrime techniques in hopes of preventing another incident such as this one. Lastly, it may be worth making some changes to laws to punish swindlers like Elcock more severely, as those who prey on the innocent deserve no mercy.
All in all, this saga has come to an end, but make no mistake, there are thousands more like Prezzi to contend with.
Featured image: Pixabay