A federal grand jury in Omaha, Nebraska, has indicted three people on charges of conspiracy, fraud and aggravated identity theft related to a "high-tech" scheme to hijack online brokerage accounts, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced. The 23-count indictment, returned in January and unsealed Monday, charges Jaisankar Marimuthu, 32, and Chockalingam Ramanathan, 33, both of Chennai, India, each with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of computer fraud, six counts of wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud, and six counts of aggravated identity theft as part of this "hack, pump and dump" scheme.
The indictment also charges Thirugnanam Ramanathan, 34, a native of India and resident of Malaysia, with one count of conspiracy, two counts of computer fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, the DOJ said. Marimuthu and Thirugnanam Ramanathan have been arrested in Hong Kong. The DOJ has identified more than 60 customers and nine brokerage firms in the U.S. and elsewhere as victims, with one of the brokerage firms reporting more than US $2 million in losses. This case is the first time that individuals have been arrested overseas in connection with an online brokerage intrusion scheme perpetrated in the U.S., the DOJ said.