Federal authorities announced on Tuesday that four people in Israel and Florida were arrested in suspicion of being connected to recent computer hacks of JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions. The suspects in question were not tied to JPMorgan’s data breach in 2014, which compromised millions of personal accounts.
Court documents show that some of the suspects are suspects in the hack. Department of Justice officials Tuesday arrested four men across Florida and Israel and charged five through one indictment and two criminal complaints. Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment on the arrests. Last summer’s hack was intended to fuel a pump-and-dump stock scheme rather than an attempt to steal financial data from America’s largest bank. None of the five men have been charged with the theft of email addresses and other contact information from the bank or carrying out the hacking.
A series of court filings unsealed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan did not mention the attack on JPMorgan’s vast network that went on for several months before it was discovered in late July. Rather, the court filings detailed charges involving a multiyear campaign to drive up the price of worthless penny stocks by pitching them to unsuspecting investors through millions of spam emails.
JPMorgan officials declined to comment on the announcement of the arrests. The two men charged and arrested in Florida both attended Florida State University. They are charged with running an illegal money-transfer operation that converted the digital currency Bitcoin into cash for online criminals.
Not much information is given about the three Israel residents charged in the stock scheme that was started nearly four years ago. Two of the men, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, were arrested in Israel. United States prosecutors said they would seek to extradite them. A third man, Joshua Samuel Aaron, an American citizen who lives in both Israel and the United States, was charged but remains at large.
United States attorney Preet Bharara released a statement: “As alleged, the defendants manipulated trading in U.S. securities from overseas, using fake identities to funnel millions of dollars in unlawful proceeds through a web of international shell companies. Using false and misleading spam emails sent to millions of people, these defendants allegedly directed their pump-and-dump scheme from their computers halfway around the world.”
Much of the JPMorgan investigation for Mr. Bharara’s office was overseen by Nicole Friedlander, a chief of the online crimes division. Its still unclear whether prosecutors along with the FBI can get any of the arrested men to provide the evidence they need to bring charges for the hacking as well.