The British citizen behind an online supermarket where thousands of criminals bought and sold credit card and bank details is facing jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud.
Renukanth Subramaniam, 33, who used the online nickname 'JiLsi', was a founding member and "administrator" on the infamous DarkMarket Web site, which helped fraudsters steal tens of millions of pounds.
DarkMarket provided a sophisticated, invitation-only service for criminals to buy and sell compromised credit card information and anything else they needed to commit financial crime. It also offered training in fraud techniques, including online bank account takeovers, and money laundering.
The network, which had over 2500 registered members at its peak, was infiltrated by the FBI and closed down at the end of 2008. So far around 60 arrests linked to the operation have been made worldwide, including Subramaniam, a former pizza bar worker who moved to the UK from Sri Lanka in 1993, and used an Internet cafe in Wembley, North London as his base.
He has now pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud at Blackfriars Crown Court. Another DarkMarket member, John McHugh, who used the online nickname 'devilman', pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Sharon Lemon, deputy director, Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), says Subramaniam owned three houses but was a "loner with a modest lifestyle".
"The key to investigations of this sort is finding the evidence to connect the online persona with a living breathing person. Subramaniam went to great trouble to hide his activity. He seems to have thought that carrying data around on memory sticks and using internet cafes would somehow protect him from scrutiny. He was wrong," says Lemon.