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Son Of Russian Lawmaker Pleads Guilty For Role In $50 Million Hacking Fraud


Roman Seleznev (center) is the son of prominent Russian lawmaker Valery Seleznev. (file photo)

The son of a Russian lawmaker has pleaded guilty for his role in a cybertheft ring that allegedly stole over $50 million using hacked credit-card information, the U.S. Justice Department announced on September 8.

Roman Seleznev, 33, the son of Valery Seleznev, a member of Russia's lower house of parliament and outspoken critic of U.S. policies, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a racketeering scheme, and another count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

The charges were filed in two separate cases in U.S. courts in Nevada and Georgia, and the plea deal for both cases was finalized on September 7, the department said.

In April, Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his role in a scheme to hack into computer terminals at U.S. businesses to steal credit card numbers.

He was arrested in the Maldives and brought to the United States to face charges. Seleznev and the Russian government have repeatedly criticized the arrest, calling it an unlawful "kidnapping."

Seleznev's attorney, Igor Litvak, said his client accepts responsibility for his role in the two hacking cases settled on September 8, but he intends to appeal his conviction and prison sentence in the earlier case.

"We still feel the way he was brought to the U.S. was illegal," Litvak told Reuters. "He was basically kidnapped."

The Nevada and Georgia cases involved a credit-card fraud ring known as "Carder.su," an online network used by criminals who traffic in stolen credit-card data.

In pleading guilty, Selenez admitted he got involved with the network in 2009 and sold stolen credit-card account numbers to other members for about $20 apiece. Prosecutors said the thefts resulted in losses of over $50 million for people whose card information was stolen.

At one point, the department said the schemers stole 45.5 million debit-card numbers from an Atlanta payment processing company and used them to withdraw over $9.4 million from ATMs in 280 cities around the world in less than 12 hours.

The scheme has resulted in charges against 55 individuals, with 33 of those arrests resulting in convictions, the department said.

With reporting by Reuters
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