According to the Department of Justice, Michael D. Mihalo, aka Dale Michael Mihalo Jr., of Naperville, Illinois, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, one count of access device fraud, and six counts of money laundering for his role in selling stolen financial information on the darknet.

Mihalo was the founder of an illegal website used to share stolen credit card information— Skynet Market. Between February 22, 2016 and October 1, 2019, Mihalo and his co-conspirators used Skynet, and other darknet markets, to sell the stolen financial information of tens of thousands of U.S. victims. He possessed information associated with 49,084 stolen payment cards and earned at least $1 million. Mihalo had established a trusted reputation on darknet, in part because of his reliable financial information. Taylor Ross Staats, one of Mihalo’s co-conspirators, served as a card-checker and ensured the financial information sold by Mihalo was active. They were paid for the stolen information through cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero.

In December 2022, Staats pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud for his role as a card checker, which earned him approximately $21,000. Mihalo faces up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count, and 10 years on each money laundering and access device fraud count. Mihalo will forfeit several million dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and real property as part of his plea agreement. He also agreed to a money judgment that will be specified by the judge.

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman assist businesses of all types and sizes in connection with Data/Cyber Security matters, including breach response, breach notification, and resulting civil litigation.  If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.