A Ukrainian national has pleaded guilty to hacking and wire-fraud charges in Seattle in what the FBI says is one of the largest cybercrime cases it has handled, the AP news agency reported.
Fedir Hladyr, 34, agreed to pay $2.5 million in restitution as part of his plea on September 11 and could face up to 25 years in prison on two of the 26 criminal counts he is facing.
Last year, FBI special agent Jay Tabb said the hacking group called FIN7, where Hladyr was a systems administrator and maintained its servers, stole and then sold information from 15 million credit and debit cards, causing more than $100 million in losses between 2015 and 2019.
Two other Ukrainians charged in the conspiracy are Dmytro Fedorov, who is being held in Poland, and Andriy Kolpakov who was arrested on May 31. Kolpakov will be tried next year.
Although the group's activities were international in nature, they also hit businesses in 47 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.
The group used phishing emails containing malware that accessed the computers of people working at hotels, casinos, and restaurants. Follow-up phone calls were made to the victims who were asked to open attachments allowing the perpetrators to access financial information. Next the group would sell the stolen sensitive information or use it to conduct fraudulent transactions.
The U.S. attorney’s office will dismiss 24 other counts in Hladyr’s indictment, hinting at a possible "cooperation deal to give more information about the FIN7 group" cybersecurity expert Greg Otto told AP.
The FBI’s Tabb has said it was one of the biggest cases in terms of losses, the number of victims, and the size of the criminal conspiracy.