What Ever Happened to the Revenue Jet Owners’ Legal Case?

Gery Shalon $403 Million Plea Bargain Cyber-Attack

Gery Shalon on the day he was arrested by Israeli police in July 2015.

As 2017 comes to a close, readers might be wondering whatever happened to the cyber-attack case of the former owners of Revenue Jet. Coming into 2017, the former casino group operators faced charges of launching the largest cyber-attack on a US financial institution in history.

Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, who owned nearly two dozen poorly-reviewed online casinos, were arrested by Israeli authorities and extradicted to the United States to face charges. Along with two American accomplices, Shalon and Orenstein were accused of a cyber-attack on JPMorgan-Chase, the largest bank in the United States.

The hackers collected personal information on 76 individual American citizens, along with 7 million US businesses’ bank accounts. One in four Americans had their banking information stolen by these men, leading US authorities to believe state-backed hackers had launched the cyber-attack.

JPMorgan Chase Cyber-Attack

In July 2014, JPMorgan-Chase’s cyber-security division noticed they had been hacked. Because of the sheer size of the attack, JP Morgan called the FBI to investigate. Early on, the FBI’s investigators believed the cyber-attack had been done by the Russian Federation. The likely motive was to protest sanctions stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea.

After further investigation, federal authorities decided the cyber-attack had more basic goals: it was part of a pump-and-dump scheme by the hackers. In a pump-and-dump scheme, certain penny stocks are touted by a broker or investor. When the price of stock is pumped up, the trader behind the scheme dumps vast amounts of their shares, collecting a fortune from the artificially pumped-up stocks. Such a scheme is, of course, illegal.

When the FBI gets involved, it does not simply drop a case like the JPMorgan-Chase hack. The FBI tracked the original attack to Moscow, but later tracked the perpetrators back to a rich suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel. With the help of Israeli police, the two masterminds behind the cyber-attack — Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein — were arrested in July 2015. One American, Anthony Murgio, was arrested in Florida as an accomplice.

A second US citizen, Joshua Aaron, fled to Eastern Europe (probably Russia) to avoid arrest, but returned to the US and was arrested in December 2016.

Gery Shalon’s Online Casino Empire

Emails seized in the search indicated that Gery Shalon was the ringleader. In emails, Shalon convinced the others that authorities would not be able to track the cyber-attack back to Israel. If they did, Israeli authorities would never extradite the men. They could hack the biggest American bank with impunity, then use the information to pump up stocks to the 76 million potential investors whose information they had.

One other key thing was noted: Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein were the owners of Milore Limited, the shell company behind the Revenue Jet affiliate program. Revenue Jet was known in the online gambling industry for casino sites like ClassyCoin, Loco Panda, Grand Parker, and Ruby Royal Casino.

The two also owned NetAd Management, which operated the Affactive Group affiliate program. NetAd Managerment owned online casinos like Casino Titan, Grand Macao, WinPalace Casino, Golden Cherry, Jackpot Grand, and Begado Casino. All of the casinos owned by Shalon and Orenstein had their domains seized on July 24, 2015 — the day the men were arrested.

Worst Casino Group of the Year

American online gambling might know the Revenue Jet or NetAd Management websites: they long were considered the worst casinos in the US online gambling industry. These were the sites which at times give offshore online casino operators a bad name.

CasinoMeister, the respected online casino forum, gives out awards for the best and worst casinos each year. From 2002 to 2014, Revenue Jet or one of its permutations received the award for “Worst Casino Group of the Year” 12 out of 13 times.

$75 Million a Month from Casinos

Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein had so many different casino sites, because one would launch with good software, big bonuses, and slick advertisements, but inevitably, the word would get around and people would stop signing up. By that time, a new brand name would be launched, to fool gamblers again.

Revenue Jet casinos would slow pay customers. They would offer a $500 bonus, but use spotty terms and conditions to assure they would never have to pay the bonus money out. Revenue Jet got into a flame war with Rome Casino, because its owners accused them of a cyber-attack on their site. Given their subsequent attack on JPMorgan-Chase, those allegations might well have been true.

$431 Million Fine by US Authorities

In July 2017, Gery Shalon agreed to pay a $403 million fine to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle his computer hacking and identity theft charges. The settlement ended three criminal proceedings and one civil lawsuit, with the 3 criminal cases presumably involving Orenstein and Murgio, too.

Shalon was released after nearly 2 years in Israeli and US prisons, awaiting trial. That was not the full extent of Shalon’s penalties, though. In the course of the investigation, the US authorities located $100 million Shalon owned in Swiss bank accounts. These funds were confiscated earlier.

Also, the investigators found 81 different bank accounts in a variety of tax shelters, including Switzerland, Georgia, Cyprus, and the Virgin Islands. These included hundreds of millions of dollars, and presumably these 81 accounts were drained of funds. As a part of the plea bargain, Gery Shalon agreed to forfeit all such funds, while also providing information on how Shalon ran his various gambling and forex businesses.

$2 Billion from Online Gambling

How much Gery Shalon was worth at the end of his incarceration is unknown, but the SEC estimated he was worth $2 billion before the cyber-attack case. Records show he had a turnover of $75 million a month prior to the cyber-attack case.

One might wonder why a billionaire would get involved in a cyber-attack and pump-and-dump scheme, when he was generating $75 million a month in action. Emails show Shalon considered the JPMorgan Chase cyber-attack the doorway to “real money”, so one can only wonder how much the online casino owner and his accomplices expected to make.

The only thing which is certain is that Gery Shalon is free to return to his home in Israel, or perhaps his original homeland of Russia — the 33-year old’s parents immigrated from Russia to Israel when he was still a child. Now that he’s free, a new version of Revenue Jet or Affactive Media might appear. Players should research their online casino choices closely — and perhaps check to see which casino group CasinoMeister finds the worst.