A Ukrainian man accused of racking up millions of dollars worth of damage in counterfeit software sales and other computer crimes was ordered to be extradited to the US by a Thai criminal court on Tuesday.
Maksym Kovalchuk, 25, was arrested on May 20 in Bangkok, Thailand. He was carrying identification under the name Maksym Vysochanskyy, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
A criminal complaint against him was filed in California in 2000, charging him with trafficking in counterfeit goods, copyright infringement, money laundering and the possession of unauthorised credit card information. Kovalchuk has denied all the charges.
The US attorney’s office for northern California applied for his extradition. The office said that Kovalchuk had allegedly sold counterfeit copies of software from Microsoft, Adobe and Macromedia through several websites. The comparative retail price of authentic software would have been $3m, said unspecified authorities, according to the AP.
However, a US secret service officer in Thailand, James Gehr, said at the time of Kovalchuk’s arrest that he had caused over $100m worth of losses.
A spokesman from the US Embassy in Bangkok told the AP on the condition of anonymity that Kovalchuk had pioneered 'web-spoofing', a relatively new type of identity-based internet crime. The software that Kovalchuk sold contained computer codes that gave him access to his customers’ computers when installed.
If convicted of the most serious charge - money laundering, Kovalchuk faces 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine. Silicon