Darknet News

Skynet Market Founder Pleads Guilty

A US man who ran one of the largest carding sites on the darknet pleaded guilty to eight charges against him yesterday. Michael D. Mihalo, of Naperville, Illinois, was not only the founder of Skynet Market, but a highly successful vendor on darknet markets such as AlphaBay, Hansa, and Wall Street Market, where he built up a reputation under the name GGMCCLOUD1 between Feb 2016 and Oct 2019.

Mihalo, now 40, is estimated to have earned at least $1 million in stolen credit card sales, handling the information from over 49,000 credit cards in all. He opened Skynet Market in early 2016, which allowed registered users to sort card information by type, bank ID number, geographic location, level, and credit or debit. The market also sold SOCKS proxies which allows users to change their IP address to match that of the card information.

Skynet Market racked up dozens of positive reviews on the Dread forum.

Bitcoin obtained from card sales was often sent through mixers and paid to Mihalo by his co-conspirators through phony business transactions to create an appearance of legitimacy. It was then cashed out through various cryptocurrency exchanges registered under Mihaloโ€™s name, which included Coinbase and Gemini. In March 2021, Mihalo told one of the exchanges that he had obtained his BTC โ€œin late 2015 via cash from Local Bitcoins on my lunch break, and that he didnโ€™t โ€œhave any purchase information.โ€

Archived posts from Dread show that GGMCCLOUD1 was not only the largest seller of credit card data on Wall Street Market but the vendor with the most sales overall, with over twice as many completed sales as the next most successful vendor.

In 2018, an undercover agent using the account name Yomommaknows made a series of credit card purchases from Skynet Market, eventually tying Bitcoin deposit addresses used in the transactions to the exchange accounts opened by Mihalo. He was arrested in March 2022.

Mihalo is expected to be sentenced โ€œat a later date.โ€ Of the eight charges against him, he faces one count of conspiracy to access device fraud, one count of access device fraud, and six counts of money laundering. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

A co-conspirator of Mihalo whose main duty was to check the validity of the cards pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge last December.

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