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US Court Sentences Russian Lawmaker's Son to 27 Years in Jail for Hacking

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The son of a prominent Russian lawmaker was sentenced on Friday by a US federal court to 27 years in prison after being convicted of stealing millions of US credit card numbers and causing some $170 million in damages to businesses and individuals.

This sentence is so far the longest sentence ever imposed in the United States for a hacking-related case.

Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, 32, the son of a Russian Parliament member of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), Valery Seleznev, was arrested in 2014 while attempting to board a flight in the Maldives and then extradited to the United States.

Upon arrest, federal authorities retrieved a computer that contained over 1.7 million stolen credit card numbers.

Seleznev, also went by the moniker 'Track2' online, was convicted in August 2016 of 38 charges related to stolen credit card details, which include:
  • 10 counts of Wire Fraud
  • 9 counts of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices
  • 9 counts of obtaining information from a Protected Computer
  • 8 counts of Intentional Damage to a Protected Computer
  • 2 counts of Aggravated Identity Theft


Longest Ever Hacking-Related Sentence in the United States

russian-credit-card-hacker
In federal court in Seattle, the government asked for a 30-year prison term for 38 counts, saying Seleznev not only helped grow the market for stolen credit card data but also "became one of the most revered point-of-sale [POS] hackers in the criminal underworld."

Seleznev – and potentially other cyber criminals who are unknown to the authorities – developed a hacking scheme that used automated techniques to hack into POS machines in retailers and install malware to steal copies of credit card numbers.

The lists of millions of stolen credit card numbers were then sold on various online "carding" websites and the dark web. Prosecutors said his hacking campaign hit more than 3,700 businesses.

Before his sentencing, Seleznev asked US District Court Judge Richard Jones for leniency, urging the judge to consider his medical issues, the result of being caught and injured in 2011 terrorist bombing, in deciding his prison term.

However, Jones told Seleznev that the Morocco bombing "was an invitation to right your wrongs and recognize you were given a second chance in life," but instead, you "amassed a fortune" at the expense of thousands of small business.
"Today is a bad day for hackers around the world," said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. "As Mr. Seleznev has now learned, and others should take note – we are working closely with our law enforcement partners around the world to find, apprehend, and bring to justice those who use the internet to steal and destroy our peace of mind." 

"Whether the victims are multi-national banks or small pizza joints, we are all victims when our day-to-day transactions result in millions of dollars ending up in the wrong hands," Hayes added.

Russian MP: Sentence "Passed by Man-Eaters;" My Son is innocent!


Twenty-seven years in prison is an absolutely inappropriate sentence for cyber theft, Seleznev's defense attorney Igor Litvak stated on Friday.

Seleznev's arrest in the Maldives and then extradition to the United States sparked an international dispute between American and Russian authorities. The Russian Foreign Ministry even characterized the extradition as a "kidnapping" and against all norms of international law.

Russian MP Valery Seleznev, the father of Seleznev, said the sentence was "passed by man-eaters" and that his son was "abducted."

The Roman MP added that his "son was tortured because being in jail in a foreign country after abduction is torture in itself. He is innocent."

Mr. Seleznev also said that he viewed the 27-years-prison sentence as a life sentence because his son would never survive these much years in prison.

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