Roman Seleznev, the son of a prominent Russian politician, and fabled “Pizza Hacker,” has been convicted in a US court of hacking into U.S. businesses, mainly in the Washington area, to steal credit card information in an international online theft scheme that netted him millions of dollars before he was arrested
Jurors deliberated for two days before finding Seleznev guilty of 38 charges; including nine counts of hacking, and 10 counts of wire fraud.
A sentencing date has been set for December the second, this year. His ordeal at the hands of the US justice system isn’t over yet either. While facing a maximum jail sentence of 40 years, he’s also still facing other similar charges in Georgia and Nevada.
US prosecutors referred to Seleznev as “one of the most prolific credit card thieves in history.”
John Henry Browne, his US based lawyer has promised to appeal, saying a key issue will be Seleznev’s 2014 arrest by U.S. Secret Service agents in the Maldives. Browne had already sought to have the charges thrown out in earlier court hearing claiming that US federal agents had no jurisdiction and amounted to little more than an illegitimate kidnapping. The judge, however, banned the issue from being raised at trial.
The U.S. Secret Service had been hunting for Seleznev for years before his arrest in July 2014. Seleznev was then transferred to the island of Guam before eventually ending up in Seattle to stand trial.
The hacker’s father (Valery Seleznev), a vocal and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, protested loudly at the time of the claiming his son’s computer skills were at best, average. Valery also asserted that the arrest was merely a blundered ploy by the U.S. to use his son as a bargaining chip in exchange for Edward Snowden.
“If Roman was Canadian, this case would never have happened,” Seleznev’s lawyer John Henry Browne told the Wall Street Journal. “There was definitely politics involved in this.”