Aug. 24 — The son of a Russian lawmaker became one of the most successful traffickers of stolen credit cards by hacking into Seattle pizza shops and retailers around the globe, a U.S. prosecutor told a jury.
Roman Seleznev amassed 1.7 million credit card numbers by installing malware on the transaction processing systems used by businesses and sold the customers’ stolen data over the internet, Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said. Seleznev operated vending sites using nicknames such as 2Pac and Bulba before he was arrested overseas with a laptop in a bag on his shoulder containing a password “cheat sheet,” the prosecutor said.
“He is one of the most prolific credit card traffickers in history,” Barbosa said Aug. 24 in his closing argument to jurors in Seattle federal court. “This defendant has been wreaking havoc all over the world for a decade,” resulting in credit card fraud losses of $169 million.
Seleznev, who was hunted by the U.S. Secret Service for more than 10 years before his 2014 arrest in the Maldives islands, was charged in a 40-count indictment. He’s the son of Valery Seleznev, a member of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament. The arrest was a rare victory for investigators seeking alleged cybercriminals in countries such as Russia that don’t have extradition treaties with the U.S. or histories of cooperating with American authorities.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, in a statement posted on its website at the time of the arrest, accused U.S. agents of kidnapping Seleznev after a passport check in the Maldives and forcibly taking him to Guam. The judge presiding over the trial barred Seleznev’s lawyer from arguing to the jury that he was kidnapped.