Computer hackers

Russian lawmaker’s son convicted in US of stealing millions of credit card numbers in hacking scheme

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 August, 2016, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 August, 2016, 9:47pm

The son of a Russian lawmaker was convicted on Thursday on US charges that he engaged in a scheme to hack into US businesses in order to steal and sell credit card numbers, costing financial institutions more than US$169 million.

Roman Seleznev, also known as “Track2,” was found guilty by a federal jury in Seattle on 38 of 40 counts including wire fraud and intentional damage to a protected computer following an eight day trial, prosecutors said.

The conviction of Seleznev, of Vladivostok, followed a 10-year-long investigation by the US Secret Service, the agency said. He was arrested in 2014 in the Maldives in what Russia at the time called a “kidnapping”.

Seleznev, the son of Valery Seleznev, a member of the Russian Parliament, is scheduled to be sentenced on December 2. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison, said his lawyer, John Henry Browne.

Browne said Seleznev, 32, plans to appeal and challenge what he called Seleznev’s illegal arrest in the Maldives and a ruling that allowed prosecutors to introduce evidence from a corrupted laptop seized at the time of his arrest.

“I don’t know of any case that has allowed such outrageous behaviour,” Browne said.

Prosecutors said that from October 2009 to October 2013, Seleznev hacked into retail point-of-sale systems and installed malware to steal credit card numbers from businesses, including restaurants and pizza parlors in Washington state.

Prosecutors said Seleznev sold the credit card information on various “carding” websites. Buyers in turn used the card numbers for fraudulent purchases, they said, causing 3,700 financial institutions to lose more than $169 million.

In total, prosecutors said he stole and sold more than 2.9 million credit card numbers. His laptop, they said, contained more than 1.7 million stolen numbers, along with evidence linking him to various servers, email and transactions in the scheme.

Seleznev faces separate charges pending in federal courts in Nevada and Georgia.