Man extradited from Ukraine charged with stealing millions in cryptocurrency

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A man from Uzbekistan was extradited from Ukraine and arraigned Wednesday in Buffalo on charges that he allegedly stole millions of dollars in cryptocurrency from a local resident, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

It is alleged that 37-year-old Nikita Andreevich Sklyuev, also known as Valeriy Dorojkin, created a malicious iPhone app that masqueraded as a crypto wallet but was actually designed to steal users’ data and drain their funds.

The app, called EOSIO Wallet Explorer, allegedly allowed Sklyuev to access a piece of data known as a user’s “private key.” With that information in hand, Sklyuev then had access to users’ funds and could lock them out of their account, officials said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said a Western New York resident fell victim to this scheme in September 2018 and had EOS cryptocurrency valued then at approximately $11.8 million stolen from their account. Sklyuev allegedly changed the private key to the victim’s wallet before transferring the funds to numerous other online wallets that were under his control in February 2019.

Sklyuev was charged with wire fraud and fraudulent use of unauthorized access device. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with Romanian and Ukrainian authorities to secure Sklyuev’s arrest and extradition last Thursday, U.S. Attorney Trini Ross said.

Sklyuev was arraigned and is being held pending a detention hearing on July 3.

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