Russian carder convicted of hacking 2.9M credit cards
The son of a Russian member of parliament allied with the Kremlin has been convicted of credit card hacking crimes worth more than $169 million, according to the Justice Department and media reports.
Roman Seleznev, 32, who used the hacker handle Track2, was convicted of 38 counts by a Seattle jury on Thursday after an eight day trial and will be sentenced Dec. 2, the Justice Department said in a release. He was acquitted of two counts, according to the Seattle Times.
During the trial, prosecutors called Seleznev, who was seized by Secret Service agents in the Maldives in June 2014, “one of the most prolific credit card traffickers in history.”
After the agents took him to Guam in a private jet, he was arrested and charged, before being brought to trial at federal court in Seattle. Russian authorities have called his detention in the Maldives “kidnapping,” and issued a travel warning to their citizens.
The charges all relate to a series of malware attacks against point-of-sale systems — the computer networks that process credit card payments for retail businesses. The malware Seleznev installed transmitted data about more than 2.9 million credit cards back to servers he operated in Russia, Ukraine and McLean, Virginia, prosecutors said.
Seleznev then bundled and sold the details on so-called carder forums, where buyers used them to commit credit card fraud.
Prosecutors said a laptop Seleznev had with him at the time of his arrest contained details for 1.7 million credit cards. He “left his digital fingerprints all over the crime scene,” prosecutor Norman Barbosa said during closing arguments this week, according to the Associated Press.
Testimony in court revealed that Seleznev’s schemes caused $169 million in losses to card issuers and other businesses, according to the Justice Department.
Defense lawyer John Henry Browne said Seleznev could face between four and 40 years in prison.
The defense sought to have the case dismissed based on the circumstances of his apprehension, saying there was no extradition treaty between the U.S. and the Maldives and that his rendition to Guam was illegal. Those issues, Browne told the Wall Street Journal, will be front and center in Seleznev’s planned appeal.
However, U.S. courts have historically been dismissive of such claims.
Browne also accused prosecutors of selectively prosecuting Seleznev for political reasons.
“If Roman was Canadian, this case would never have happened. There was definitely politics involved in this,” he said, according to the Journal.
Seleznev’s father, Valery, is a member of the Russian Duma in the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party.
Court documents suggested that the younger Seleznev was being protected by at least some within Russian law enforcement. After U.S. authorities identified an earlier handle used by Seleznev — “nCuX,” a transliteration of the Russian word for “psycho” — they shared that information with their Russian counterparts in May 2009, the Journal reported.
A month later that handle vanished from the internet, but Seleznev kept operating under new aliases, prosecutors said.
Seleznev is also facing racketeering and fraud charges in Nevada and Georgia, according to the Justice Department.