Federal prosecutors have thrown the book at a Russian hacker recently convicted of stealing between 1.7 – 2.9 million credit cards and causing what could end up amounting to billions of dollars of fraud losses. On Friday, a federal judge sentenced Roman Seleznev to an unprecedented 27 years in prison. Seleznev is the son of prominent Russian lawmaker and “close political ally” to Vladimir Putin Valery Seleznev according to the New York Times.
The 27-year sentence is the longest in U.S. history related to hacking and comes due to his part in an enormous personal identity and credit card theft scheme that targeted over 500 businesses around the world and over 3,700 financial institutions. Seleznev, known as “Track2” in the hacking world, was convicted of hacking into the accounts of everything from pizza shops to banks, causing damages that currently sit at $170 million dollars and rising, possibly into the billions.
Authorities scored a major win in tracking down Seleznev after receiving a tip that he would be taking a vacation with his girlfriend to the Maldives. As Seleznev landed at the Maldives airport, Secret Service officers placed him under arrest. He was then transported to Guam and eventually to a federal prison in Washington state — many of the businesses affected by Seleznev were in Seattle. Upon Seleznev’s conviction, prosecutors didn’t hold back their joy of having shut down one of the biggest hackers to ever exist, The New York Times reports:
“Simply put, Roman Seleznev has harmed more victims and caused more financial loss than perhaps any other defendant that has appeared before the court,” federal prosecutors said in their sentencing memorandum. “This prosecution is unprecedented.”