Son of Russian lawmaker pleads guilty in cyber crime cases

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The son of a Russian lawmaker accused of stealing credit card data and other personal information has pleaded guilty in two criminal cases stemming from a probe into a $50 million online identity theft scheme, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.

Roman Seleznev, 33, the son of Russian parliament member Valery Seleznev, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a racketeering scheme, and another count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The charges were filed in federal courts in Nevada and Georgia, and the plea deal for both cases was finalized on Thursday.

In April, Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison by a federal court in Washington for his role in a cyber assault involving hacking into point of sale computers to steal credit card numbers.

He was arrested in the Maldives and brought to the United States to face charges.

The Russian government has previously criticized the arrest, calling it an unlawful kidnapping.

Seleznev’s attorney, Igor Litvak, said his client accepts responsibility for his role in the two cyber cases settled on Thursday, but that he intends to appeal his conviction stemming from the third separate Washington case.

“We still feel the way he was brought to the U.S. was illegal,” Litvak told Reuters. “He was basically kidnapped.”

The Nevada and Georgia cases involved a credit card fraud ring known as “,” an Internet-based network used by criminals who trafficked stolen credit card data.

In pleading guilty, Seleznev admitted he got involved with the ring in January 2009 and sold compromised credit card data to others on the network.

He also admitted to serving as a “casher” by working with other hackers to defraud an Atlanta company that helped process credit and debit card transactions. That scheme ultimately let the hackers steal 45.5 million debit card numbers and withdraw $9.4 million from ATMs in 280 cities.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by David Gregorio and Rosalba O’Brien