US Federal Court Sentences Hacker to Unprecedented Jail Time

The US Federal District Court in Seattle, Washington has sentenced a 32 year old Russian hacker to 27 years in prison –  the longest sentence ever imposed by a US Court for cybercrimes. The hacker, who is the son of a Russian member of parliament, was convicted of running an identity theft and credit fraud network and selling millions of stolen credit cards on the black market. Prosecutors estimated the magnitude of his crimes at $170 million, at a minimum and his victims include about 3,700 financial institutions and 5,000 business worldwide.

The hacker, in fear for the charges pending against him in the US, was careful not to visit countries with an extradition treaty with the United States. He was apprehended in the Maldives, which does not have an extradition treaty with the US. Local authorities in the Maldives were persuaded by the US Department of State to cooperate with the US Secret Service, a federal agency entrusted with handling financial fraud cases. Local police in the Maldives arrested the hacker and handed him over to Secret Service agents, who then took him onboard a private jet to the United States.

Federal sentencing guidelines would have imposed a life sentence on the hacker, but federal prosecutors opted for a 30 year imprisonment. The Hacker also faces additional state-crime charges in Nevada and Georgia, but state prosecutors might drop their charges in light of the unprecedented federal sentence.