A Russian man recently arrested on bank fraud and other charges hacked into computers at restaurants in Western Washington, hundreds of other retail businesses, and even the Phoenix Zoo, U.S. authorities allege.
Roman Valerevich Seleznev appeared in court in Guam on Monday and was ordered detained until a hearing July 22. The 30-year-old Moscow man was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service over the weekend, according to documents filed in federal court in Seattle.
Seleznev, known by the underground name "Track2," carried out a scheme to hack into retailers' computers, install malicious software and steal credit card numbers from 2009 to 2011, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.
He is accused of marketing and selling those stolen credit card numbers on "criminally inspired websites" and using servers in Virginia, Russia, Ukraine and other parts of the world to help carry out the scheme.
In March 2011, a grand jury in Washington state indicted Seleznev on charges of bank fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, aggravated identity theft, trafficking in unauthorized access devices and possessing stolen credit card numbers. Seleznev also is charged in a similar but separate indictment in Nevada.
The Washington indictment accuses him of hacking into computers at the Broadway Grill in Seattle and stealing 32,000 unique credit card numbers between December 2009 and October 2010.
Seleznev is also accused of stealing credit card data from "hundreds of retail businesses" throughout the U.S. They include several others in Western Washington, along with Schlotzsky's Deli in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Mary's Pizza Shack in Sonoma, California; Latitude Bar and Grill in New York; and the Phoenix Zoo, according to the indictment.
The indictment says Seleznev stole more than 200,000 credit card numbers and sold more than 140,000, generating more than $2 million in profits.
It was unclear whether consumers or banks were notified that the card numbers had been stolen. A call to the Secret Service on Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.
The Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement Tuesday described Seleznev's arrest as "yet another unfriendly gesture" of the United States.
"Neither are we notified of charges against our compatriots, nor were Russian consulate offices informed of Seleznev's arrest," the statement said.
The ministry said it was waiting for the U.S. to explain the incident and allow Russian consulate staff to visit Seleznev.
Moscow also blamed Maldives officials for ignoring "international legal norms" and allowing "intelligence services of another state to kidnap a Russian citizen and take him out of the country."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg declined to comment Tuesday on how Seleznev was apprehended.
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