A new tool for prosecuting cybercrime appears to have emerged from a Las Vegas courtroom. Using a law classically invoked for targeting mafia and gang members, a federal court convicted a member of a web forum being used to facilitate identity theft. According to Wired, this is the first time that this law — the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) — has been used to prosecute cybercrime, and it could find a broader use as online black markets like Silk Road continue to gain the attention of law enforcement.
With RICO, law enforcement can prosecute members of an organized crime organization, even if they aren’t found to have directly committed a crime. In this case, prosecutors argued that members of the web forum “Carder.su” were part of a type of organized crime group, as they were required to go through a vetting process and to meet a number of security standards that would protect the forum from law enforcement.
It appears that this involvement and the purchase of criminal goods was enough to consider David Ray Camez, the convicted member, a participant in the over 5,500-member forum. “It is difficult to fathom the enormity and complexity of the Carder.su racketeering organization and its far-reaching tentacles across international borders,” US attorney Daniel Bogden says in a statement.
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