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US court sentences Indian to 81 months in jail

A US court on Tuesday sentenced an Indian to 81 months in prison on conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges.



Washington, April 27: A US court on Tuesday sentenced an
Indian to 81 months in prison on conspiracy and aggravated
identity theft charges arising from an international fraud
scheme to "hack" into online brokerage accounts in America and
use those accounts to manipulate stock prices.

Jaisanker Marimuthu, a native of Chennai, who was
extradited to the US following his arrest in Hong Kong, was
also ordered by the court to pay USD 2.4 million in
restitution.

Marimuthu, 36, had pleaded guilty on February 5 to one
count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud,
computer fraud and to one count of aggravated identity theft
before US District Magistrate Judge in a Nebraska court.

According to court documents, he was part of a
conspiracy that operated out of Thailand and India from
February 2006 through December 2006 in which the prices of
thinly-traded securities were fraudulently inflated by hacking
into brokerage accounts in the US and then illegally using the
accounts to make large, unauthorized purchases of securities
in the name of the unsuspecting customers.

Marimuthu admitted that after the price of the
securities had been artificially increased or "pumped up"
through the bogus trading, the conspirators` own holdings of
the securities would be sold at a profit.

More than 90 customers and seven brokerage firms in
the US have been identified as victims, the US Department of
Justice said.

Financial losses of close to USD 2.5 million were
sustained by the victims in this case.

Co-defendant Thirugnanam Ramanathan, 37, pleaded
guilty on June 2, 2008, to one count of conspiracy to commit
wire fraud, securities fraud, computer fraud and aggravated
identity theft.

Following his arrest in Hong Kong, Ramanathan was
extradited on May 25, 2007, to the US.

Ramanathan was sentenced to two years in prison by
Judge Camp, and has since been returned to India following
completion of his sentence.

Co-defendant Chockalingham Ramanathan, 36, was charged
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.

Chockalingham Ramanathan remains at large.

PTI

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