Saturday, July 12, 2014


Roman Seleznev and family
American law enforcement agents took the fugitive hacker Roman Seleznev into custody in the Maldives, and flew him to the closest US territory, Guam, where it seeks to remove* him to the continental United States, on serious criminal charges. There just one problem: Seleznev is the son of a prominent member of the Duma, the Russian Parliament, and the circumstances of his seizure have angered his father, who claims that the charges are unfounded, and that he requires medication for an existing brain condition, caused by an explosion. The defendant allegedly stole information on over 200,000 credit cards, resulting in a loss of just under $2m.

Seleznev faces a 29-count criminal indictment** in US District Court in the State of Washington; note that it has been pending since 2011:

(1) Bank fraud.
(2) Intentional Damage to a Protected Computer.
(3) Possession of fifteen or more Unauthorized Access Devices.
(4) Trafficking in Unauthorized Access Devices.
(5) Aggravated Identity Theft.

I compute that the maximum sentence that he could receive, if he is ultimately sentenced on only one count of each of the charges, would be 57 years. Additionally, the US Attorney, Seattle, press release states that he has also been indicted, on RICO charges, in the District of Nevada. He is exposed to a potential 50-year sentence there.

Seleznev, according to the indictment, installed malware (malicious computer code) on the computers of American business, causing some of them to later close, after the extent of the credit card theft resulted in a lack of patron confidence. He sold the card information through a notorious Russian Internet forum. Look for the US Attorney's Office to seek a long prison term, due to the extensive damage that he caused.

The defendant has already retained local counsel in Guam; curiously enough, he is an attorney specializing in tax matters. His Removal to the Western District of Washington, to face the charges there, will certainly occur, notwithstanding any efforts by his lawyer to avoid his facing the music. President Putin recently warned russian nationals to avoid traveling to any country from where they could conceivably be extradited to the United States, but Seleznev took a holiday in the Maldives. The specific law enforcement agency who captured him has been named: the United States Secret Service.

For readers who wonder why the long trip to Guam: it is apparently the closest American territory, for the United States has no possessions or dependencies in either Africa or Asia, only in the Pacific, or in the Caribbean.***

*Petition for Writ of Removal filed under Case No.: 14-mj-00056-1 (D Guam).
** Case No.: CR-11-070-RAJ (WD WA) .

*** Outside of the fifty US states, there are only Caribbean and Pacific Ocean territories.
Location of US territories

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