Indictment Alleges Scheme to Fraudulently Charge Hundreds of Thousands of Mobile Phone Customers for Text-Messaging Services Without Their Knowledge or Consent
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Joleen D. Simpson, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Boston Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that EUGENI TSVETNENKO, a/k/a “Zhenya,” a dual citizen of Australia and Russia, was extradited from Australia and arrived in the United States this morning. TSVETNENKO was extradited on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, stemming from the defendant’s alleged participation in a scheme to charge mobile phone customers millions of dollars in monthly fees for unsolicited, recurring text messages about topics such as horoscopes, celebrity gossip, and trivia facts, without the customers’ knowledge or consent—a practice referred to as “auto-subscribing.” The portion of the fraudulent scheme that TSVETNENKO and his co-conspirators orchestrated defrauded mobile phone users of approximately $41,389,725, and netted TSVETNENKO and his co-conspirators more than $20 million in proceeds. TSVETNENKO will be presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres.