A Walk in the Shadows
Former Russian money mule and hacker.
Kristina Vladimirovna Svechinskaya (Russian: Кристина Владимировна Свечинская, born February 16, 1989) is a former Russian money mule hacker. A student of the New York University, in 2010 she was accused of a plot to defraud several British and U.S. banks of sizeable sums and usage of false passports. According to charges, Svechinskaya used Zeus trojan horse to attack thousands of bank accounts and opened at least five accounts in Bank of America and Wachovia, which received $35,000 (£22,000) of money theft. It is estimated that with nine other people Svechinskaya had skimmed $3 million in total.
Fluent in English, Svechinskaya was originally studying at the Stavropol State University. According to Svechinskaya’s mother, after the death of Kristina’s father their family was living on a sole 12,000 ruble ($400 USD at the time) salary. While in her third year, Kristina chose the Work & Travel program and in the summer of 2010 arrived in Massachusetts,where she started to work in a fast-food branch. The earnings in Massachusetts however were small and she moved to New York where she chose to work as a hacker’s money mule. Svechinskaya was offered an 8-10% share of taken money. The sentence was expected to be announced in June 2011, but after the arrest Svechinskaya signed a personal recognizance bond and was released under $25,000 bail.