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Martial arts champion, among hackers detained

Gheorghe Ignat, mixed martial arts national and international champion, was arrested yesterday as part of the investigation that targeted a group of Romanian hackers that were cloning credit cards and then stealing money from Australian bank accounts.

Gheorghe Ignat, also known as “The Carpathian Bear” in the world of mixed martial arts, was arrested yesterday as part of an investigation in which Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) prosecutors and police officers searched 12 homes in Suceava County. Nine members of the group were stealing bank account data, while the others were fraudulently withdrawing money from the accounts. The group was dismantled yesterday following an action coordinating by the Romanian Police and DIICOT and implemented with the support of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) in collaboration with the FBI, the US Secret Service and the Australian authorities. The international crime group had been monitored by SRI for well over a year, according to SRI Spokesperson Sorin Sava.For years he competed in Greco-Roman wrestling, winning numerous national and international medals in the heavyweight category. He then competed in MMA California, the world’s toughest fighting circuit. There he gained the nickname “The Carpathian Bear” and took part in four bouts, winning them all.However he returned to Romania in order to make a name for him at home, where he has a wife and two children. Things did not turn out as he had hoped and since in Romania he was earning 10 times less than he was in America, Ignat looked for extra sources of income in order to support his family. Thus, in 2010 Ignat joined a group that was engaged in bank frauds. Ignat and an accomplice fraudulently withdrew approximately AUD 150,000. Fraudulent withdrawals were made in Malaysia and Great Britain too, the sum being however much smaller, around AUD 16,000.  Also yesterday, 36 searches took place in Bucharest, Brasov, Galati, Timisoara and in Valcea and Ilfov counties. An international group made up of 16 persons specialized in IT frauds was dismantled by the Romanian Police in collaboration with FBI and the British intelligence services. According to preliminary information, 500,000 credit cards were compromised, the damages totaling USD 25 M.

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