Hacker gets four years for defrauding carriers through FMCSA site

| 8/12/2009

One of two men who pocketed millions by hacking into a federal trucking Web site and fraudulently collecting load payments was sentenced to more than four years in prison on Monday.

Viacheslav Berkovich, 34, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge John Walter to 55 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $2.7 million in restitution.

Berkovich and Nicholas Lakes, also known as Dmitry Nadezhdin, and Dmitry Livshits, 35, pleaded guilty to computer fraud and mail fraud charges.

In early 2007, Lakes and Berkovich hacked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System, or SAFER, and registered their own trucking and brokerage companies under the names Cargoland Brokerage Inc., Progressive Trucking, Vega Trucking and Barkfelt Transport.

The men then changed registration information, including e-mail addresses and phone numbers, for other truck and brokerage companies who already were registered in SAFER to “create the impression that the unrelated companies were affiliated with defendants’ companies,” the federal indictment states.

Later, they posed as carriers on various Internet load boards, entered contracts with brokers to haul advertised loads, then double-brokered the loads to another carrier without telling the original load broker. Loads were booked, delivered and payments made to the defendants, though payments were never made to the companies who delivered the actual loads.

In June, Lakes was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer