Canadian-American citizen Ghaleb Alaumary has been sentenced to 11 years in prison and to pay $30m in restitution to the US government.
Alaumary has been convicted of laundering money for North Korean military hackers for years. Alaumary would use crypto exchanges and wire transfers to facilitate trades on behalf of the North Korean intelligence services.
In 2020, the Department of Justice (DoJ) indicted three North Korean intelligence agency members of the staff for attempting to steal more than $1.3bn through cyber warfare and extortion. The suspects had carried out numerous attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges and companies.
Alaumary originally pled guilty that same year, owning up to his involvement with the North Korean hackers which dated back to 2018.
He was a point-person for the hackers ATM cash-out schemes and recruited others, specifically from the Pakistani commercial bank BankIslami, bypassing fraud prevention mechanisms. He managed to steal $6.1m from the bank.
“Once the ill-gotten funds were in accounts he controlled, Alaumary further laundered the funds through wire transfers, cash withdrawals, and by exchanging the funds for cryptocurrency”, the DoJ said in a statement.
The DoJ described Alaumary as an integral conduit in the network of cybercriminals. Acting US attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David Estes confirmed that Alaumary laundered funds for rogue nations and facilitated their attacks on US soil.