Russian cyber hacker pleads guilty in identity theft case

LAS VEGAS — A Russian cybercriminal identified as a leader of a $50 million identity theft and credit card fraud ring has pleaded guilty in Atlanta to helping to steal millions of debit card numbers and swiftly loot accounts in cities around the world, federal authorities said.

Roman Valeryevich Seleznev pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in Atlanta, and to participating in a racketeering enterprise in the "carder.su" case in Las Vegas, federal prosecutors in Nevada and the U.S. state of Georgia said in a written statement.

Seleznev's defense attorney, Igor Litvak in New York, said Monday his client accepted responsibility for his actions and looks forward to sentencing Dec. 11. He could face up to 24 more years in federal prison under terms of his pleas.

Seleznev, 33, already is serving 27 years for his conviction last year in Seattle in a wire fraud and computer hacking case.

Prosecutors said he used online names including Track2, Bulba and Ncux.

In the Georgia case, he admitted working with hackers who in November 2008 stole 45.5 million debit card numbers from an Atlanta-based credit and debit transactions processing company.

Within 12 hours, thieves withdrew more than $9.4 million from 2,100 ATMs in 280 cities around the world, prosecutors said.

In the Nevada case, Seleznev admitted becoming associated in January 2009 with carder.su — an internet-based, international forum in which members committed identity theft, bank fraud and computer crimes and traded compromised credit card account data and counterfeit identifications.

Court documents said the invitation-only group shielded members' anonymity by using secure and encrypted email, virtual private networks, chatrooms and private messaging systems.

Seleznev admitted creating an automated website that let members log-in, fill a "shopping cart" with stolen credit card account numbers for about $20 each, and check-out. Payments were automatically deducted from an online digital market that predated the Bitcoin virtual currency exchange.

Prosecutors alleged the operation resulted in nearly $51 million in losses to people whose identities were stolen.

To date, officials say 55 people have been charged and 33 have been convicted in four different indictments in the carder.su case investigated by U.S. Homeland Security and Secret Service agents.

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