The Internet Research Agency "tampered with, altered, or caused a misappropriation of information with the goal or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes and institutions", specifically the 2016 U.S. presidential race, the Treasury Department said earlier this year.
The Justice Department disclosed the criminal complaint soon after US intelligence agencies said in a joint statement that they were concerned about efforts by Russia, China and Iran to influence USA voters and policy.
In a joint statement, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Homeland Security Department, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation say they're anxious about activities that "seek to influence voter perceptions and decision-making" in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
Justice Department's criminal complaint says Elena Khusyaynova worked for the same Russian social media troll farm that was indicted in February by special counsel Robert Mueller; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Capitol Hill. They used social media platforms to create thousands of social media and email accounts that appeared to be operated by US persons, and used them to create and amplify divisive social and political content targeting USA audiences.
The conspirators also "took extraordinary steps" to appear as American political activists, officials say, by creating "thousands of social media and email accounts" that gave the illusion that they were operated by USA citizens. The social media effort outlined by prosecutors Friday largely mirrors Mueller's criminal case against three Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency, and 13 Russians, including one is a close ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Officials say the alleged "conspiracy" sought to pit Americans against each other.
Just ahead of the indictment, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement expressing concern over possible election meddling.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in July announced a new policy to alert the public to foreign operations targeting USA democracy, such as the one Russian Federation undertook in 2016.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence blasted China in a speech saying Russia's influence efforts in America pale in comparison with the covert and overt activities of the Chinese to interfere in the midterms and counter Trump's tough trade policies against Beijing.
"The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the US political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions", US Attorney Zachary Terwilliger said in a statement.
But top administration officials have provided little evidence that China's activities are comparable to Russia's massive covert measures that were spelled out in previous indictments obtained by Mueller. USA officials have warned repeatedly about foreign attempts to influence the 2018 Midterms.
The statement noted that, despite attempts to penetrate election infrastructure, there was no sign that foreign hackers had compromised any systems such as voter registration databases or voting machines.