Valery Seleznev, a Russian politician and member of the parliament, was told that the US court found his son Roman Valeryevich Seleznev guilty of hacking more than 1.7 million sets of credit card data from small businesses and organizations in the US.
The 32-year-old Russian hacker was convicted in August of 2016 for causing $169 million in damages to US restaurants and businesses. Upon the conviction of Roman Seleznev, the US law enforcement immediately seized his laptop which contained most of the stolen credit card information and analyzed his activity on the dark web.
During the investigation, authorities tracked Roman Seleznev’s identity to a dark web marketplace, wherein he sold stolen credit card information of clients and customers of restaurants and small businesses he hacked. As reported by DeepDotWeb in September of 2016, the US Department of Justice noted that Seleznev hacked point-of-sale (PoS) systems of businesses in the US and sent sensitive financial data acquired from his hacking attacks to his private servers in Russia.
“Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the malware would steal the credit card data from the point-of-sale systems and send it to other servers that Seleznev controlled in Russia, the Ukraine or in McLean, Virginia. Seleznev then bundled the credit card information into groups called “bases” and sold the information on various “carding” websites to buyers who would then use the credit card numbers for fraudulent purchases, according to the trial evidence. Testimony at trial revealed that Seleznev’s scheme caused 3,700 financial institutions more than $169 million in losses,” the DoJ stated.
Seleznev was convicted of 38 counts related to hacking businesses in late last year. This week, a US court found Seleznev guilty of most of the charges presented by federal prosecutors and he was sentenced to 27 years in prison.
According to the New York Times, the 27-year sentence of Seleznev is the longest sentence in the history of the country for charges related to hacking. The publication further revealed that the federal prosecutors asked for a 30-year sentence.
Roman Seleznev’s 27-year-long sentence in the US led to a major controversy in Russia, due to his father and member of the Russian parliament Valery Seleznev’s statements earlier today. In an interview with a local publication, Seleznev claimed that Roman was abducted and framed for his crimes in the US.
“My son was tortured because being in jail in a foreign country after abduction is torture in itself. He is innocent,” Seleznev told RIA Novosti news agency.
However, in a 11-page handwritten note presented to the court, Roman Seleznev admitted to all of his wrongdoings and pleaded guilty to the majority of the charges related to hacking.
“I was using my skills in a bad way and I knew this was wrong,” wrote Roman. “In 2007, I found large base of credit cards and I sell for large amount of money. I was becoming greedy and out of my control,” he added.
Roman admitted that he hacked thousands of businesses and sold credit information on the dark web in order to provide financial stability for his family. He explained, “I attempted to protect the family and find honest career. By mid 2010, I found myself in a complicated situation as the demand for my family became too much as I was not able to find a career in my field due to lack of certifications and university level diplomas.”
Analysts and attorneys including Kenneth Blanco of the Justice Department’s criminal division stated that the sentencing and crackdown of Seleznev’s illicit operations in the US should sent a message to hackers in the US and worldwide that there exists severe legal consequences for engaging in hacking-related crimes.
“The investigation, conviction and sentence demonstrates that the United States will bring the full force of the American justice system upon cybercriminals like Seleznev who victimize US citizens and companies from afar,” said Blanco.