Lithuanian cyber thief Evaldas Rimasauskas allegedly ripped off Facebook and Google for a cool $100 million scam using a phishing plot. Rimasauskas will be extradited to America to stand trial.
The same scheme which caught Rimasauskas has caught up with a New York personal trainer. Shannon Pettinger, 43, was arrested and accused of grand larceny for her part in the phishing scam which targeted businesses as well.
Phishing is gaining in notoriety and connections through Internet come-ons found on Google, Facebook and other social media sites. It’s appealing to anyone greedy and interested in making some quick cash.
The branch of the scheme which caught Pettinger is called “The Business Email Compromise” by the FBI and is growing more common. Between 2013 and 2016 over 40,000 such crimes walked away with $5 billion.
Between May and December 2016, American companies alone lost more than $345 million.
The New York Police Department has documented more than 74 scams in the metro but believes the number is likely to go higher.
“Companies don’t want to appear vulnerable,” said Greg Besson with the city’s Financial Crimes Task Force. “Businesses don’t enjoy front-page stories saying don’t “put your cash here.”
Orson Munn, CEO of the ad firm Munn Rabot did go straight to the police when he learned someone sent an email to an employee directing them to wire $50,000 to a Citizens Bank account for Shays Way, a shell company.
Although Munn was asked by law enforcement not to discuss the details, Munn did say, “I need fairness to be followed.”
In Pettinger’s case, Isaac Branch, also with the FCTF said he essentially “followed the money,” recognized Pettinger and took the bank’s video footage of her taking money from the account.
Petting appeared to be connected to a bigger plan and attempted to wire money to a Chinese account over $49,000.
Now, free on bail, Pettinger isn’t talking and hung up on a journalist who called her at her home.
While it’s not clear how Pettinger got involved in the scam, the FBI says she is a small player in a larger scam.
Often someone responds to an email for a money-making opportunity — such as working from home — and ends up with an assignment that gives them a piece of the amount stolen.