Banking Fraud On Example By Vladimir Levin

In 1994, various bank customers have noticed several dollars missing from their accounts. Turned out to be that US$400,000 were missing from many different banking customers from many different bank in the US. It came to notice after some time by some banking officials that there was money missing from several accounts, this was then raised up as an issue and deeper investigation had then been investigated with involvement of the FBI.

Further investigation found hackers could get access of their accounts by clients transferring money from one account to another by cash management systems, as this would give out their user ID and current Passwords. As the FBI got involved with this case, they began to track every transfer that was made to different accounts and eventually 40 illegal transfers were found, which most of those were transferred to overseas countries adding up to $10 million.

According to the (FBI website) article it is to be said that Vladimir Levin was caught in London Airport, March 1995, while boarding his flight to Moscow, Russia. He was then extradited to the US and pled guilty in 1998, he was also then sentenced for 3 years in jail and to make a restitution of US$240,015

The Jurisdiction Law states that, jurisdiction can be asserted over, the nationality of the offender, nationality of the victim, the infringement of the important interest of the state or violation. (Christopher L. Blakesley). This means that, wheatear the crime was committed in London or US, the retribution for the offence would be the same all over the world. Laws are put in place for a reason so that they cannot be breached and taken over by someone else.

Tampering of data can result in many different outcomes depending on the court of law. The following are some of the codes and section that may have been used against Vladimir Levin, as an attempt to break into the Citibank according to the US Law, of committing fraud with the network and computers.

18 U.S.C. 371 (conspiracy): A total of 5 years in imprisonment and $250,000 fine.

18 U.S.C. 1028A(a)(1) (aggravated identity theft): A minimum of 2 years’ service of sentence of imprisonment, $250,000 fine and a sentence for underlying felony.

18 U.S.C. 1029(a)(2) and (c)(1)(A)(i) (trafficking in unauthorized access devices): 10 years in imprisonment, $250,000 fine

18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(2)(C) and (c)(2)(B) (computer intrusion): 5 years in imprisonment, $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release

These are the laws stated under the section 18 U.S. Code § 1030,1029,2028,371 - Fraud and related activity in connection with computers, Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices, Fraud and related activity in connection with document and information and finally, Fraud with conspiracy to commit offence. Vladimir Levin may have been considered for some of these law’s after fighting for extradition for 30months and loosing. He was then sentenced for 3 years in jail, along with him 4 group members were also convicted for bank fraud and served different sentences, some of them were in Russia and some in the US.

As a legal perspective, what Vladimir Levin did was completely illegal. The first legal issues that was found is illegally accessing, Citibank network without any permission, this was committed when Levin was in London as he tried to access Citibank’s network to access user’s information.

The second legal issues where he stole account information details of users that bank with Citibank in New York, this is the second legal issues that was found in this case, data theft. Through this he could send different wire transfers to many different accounts over the world.

The third legal issue that was found is committing fraud by stealing up to $10 million, in forty transaction to different accounts in Finland, Russia, Israel, Switzerland. Consideration of all these may come under the Criminal Law, as Computer Cyber Crime. Mainly because of unauthorised access into computer systems and unauthorised interception of data, hacking into a system without legal permission and accessing users account information, with any legal consent.

Ethics are described in many ways, ethics can be defined by a human character being either good or bad doing the right or wrong thing, being fair or unfair. Ethics can be referred to a human making many different choices weather that may be right or wrong, but generally this leads them to the right way. This may depend on his/her benefit to their society. There are a few ethical issues in this Vladimir Levin’s case such as Hacking into Citibank network without any authority or given permission. Is it ethical to access a bank’s private information/network and commit fraud?

Consequence based ethics are used in this case where several people are being benefitted than a minority. Whereas in this case, it looks like Vladimir Levin accessed a private computer network illegally, making himself gain happiness, based on the consequence rather than his whole team. Overall this concluded that the act was wrong because it was not ethical for, Vladimir Levin to break into someone else’s private network and gain access of someone’s personal information.

The deontology ethic theory would be defined as an action that is based on whether the action may be right or wrong under many different rules, rather than the consequences based on an action. The deontology theory in this case would also say that this was completely wrong as trying to access a network without permission would be illegal. According to the 10 commands of computer ethics that was defined in 1992, it clearly states that “you shall not use the internet to steal”, considering this quote by the 10 commandments, what Vladimir Levin did was completely illegal.

Overall, from an ethical perspective, it was Vladimir Levin passion to hacking into bank to steal money, he was eager to hack into different system to steal money and then transfer them into various accounts to different countries. Hacking into and staling could have been fun for Vladimir Levin, but morally this was completely illegal and should have not been done, unless he had permission to test out the security of the network. By the looks of normative ethics Vladimir Levin accepted a path which was not legal to commence instead he should have opted for the right path, which was not to hack into the system.

03 December 2019
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