Roman Valerevich Seleznev : Russian Cyber-Criminal convicted of hacking defrauded 3700 banks of over $169 Million

Roman Valerevich SeleznevPhoto by Sean MacEntee

A federal jury convicted a Vladivostok, Russia, man of 38 counts related to his scheme to hack into point-of-sale computers to steal and sell credit card numbers to the criminal underworld, announced the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Roman Valerevich Seleznev, aka Track2, aged 32, was convicted after an eight-day trial of ten counts of wire fraud, eight counts of intentional damage to a protected computer, nine counts of obtaining information from a protected computer, nine counts of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

According to testimony at trial and court documents, between October 2009 and October 2013, Seleznev hacked into retail point-of-sale systems and installed malicious software (malware) to steal credit card numbers from various businesses from a server he operated in Russia. Many of the businesses were small businesses, some of which were restaurants in Western Washington, including the Broadway Grill in Seattle, which was forced into bankruptcy following the cyber assault.

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 Roman Valerevich 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.

When Roman Valerevich Seleznev was taken into custody in July 2014 in the Maldives by US Secret Service agents and then flown to Guam, his laptop contained more than 1.7 million stolen credit card numbers, some of which were stolen from businesses in Western Washington. The laptop also contained additional evidence linking Seleznev to the servers, email accounts and financial transactions involved in the scheme.

Roman Valerevich Seleznev was also charged in a separate indictment in the District of Nevada with participating in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization (RICO) and conspiracy to engage in a RICO, as well as two counts of possession of 15 or more counterfeit and unauthorized access devices. Seleznev is also charged in the Northern District of Georgia with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of bank fraud and four counts of wire fraud. An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Son of a member of the Russian Federation Parliament

The Russian government had protested Seleznev’s arrest as a US kidnapping. He is the son of Valery Seleznev, a prominent member of the Russian Federation Parliament and an ally of President Vladimir Putin. At first, Valery Seleznev denied that it was his son who was arrested and stated his son had no knowledge of computers or hacking for that matter.

According to court documents filed by federal prosecutors, Saleznev maintained an extravagant lifestyle, including owning high-end automobiles, regularly flying to exotic places and staying in fancy hotels, as well as owning multiple properties, including two apartments in the Indonesian island and province Bali, for which he paid $790,000.

The case against Roman Valerevich Seleznev is based, in part, on evidence seized by the Justice Department when it shuttered Liberty Reserve, the Costa Rica-based digital currency and payments service, in 2013. “Among the Liberty Reserve accounts maintained by Seleznev were two accounts that received over $17.8 million in payments for the sales of stolen credit card data,” according to court documents.

The US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force investigated the case.

The CCIPS Cyber Crime Lab and its Director, Ovie Carroll, provided substantial support for the prosecution. The Office of International Affairs and the US Attorney’s Office of the District of Guam also provided assistance in this case.

Photo by Sean MacEntee 

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