Russian Hacker Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison

WASHINGTON (CN) – A Russian hacker whose pilfering of millions of credit card numbers caused more than $169 million in damages was sentenced in federal court Friday to 27 years in prison, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, 32, was convicted in August 2016 of hacking into computers at more than 500 stores between 2009 and 2013 to steal customers’ credit card numbers, which he then sold on the dark web. Once there, people could buy the card numbers and use them to make fraudulent purchases, according to the Justice Department.

Seleznev, who used the name Track2, forced the Seattle-based Broadway Grill into bankruptcy and cost financial institutions more than $169 million, according to a Justice Department press release.

Though many of the targets were in Washington State, Seleznev sent the information back to servers in Russia, Ukraine and McLean, Va., just outside of Washington, DC. Seleznev was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and also faces charges in Nevada and Georgia for similar crimes.

“Today is a bad day for hackers around the world,” U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes said in a statement. “The notion that the Internet is a Wile West where anything goes is a thing of the past. 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.”

Authorities arrested Seleznev in July 2014 in the Maldives, finding nearly 2 million credit card numbers on his laptop. Prosecutors at trial proved Seleznev made “tens of millions of dollars” in his scheme, according to the Justice Department.

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