Russian Cybercriminal Pleads Guilty In $2B Debit Card Scheme In Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA – A Russian cybercriminal has pleaded guilty to cashing out more than $2.1 billion from five hacked debit card numbers, federal officials said recently. Roman Seleznev pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his role in the 2008 hack of RBS Worldpay, formerly the U.S. payment processing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, located in Atlanta.

“The defendant and a sophisticated team of hackers stole over $2,000,000 from ATMs across the globe,” U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a news release. (SIGN UP: Get Patch’s Daily Newsletter and Real Time News Alerts. Or, if you have an iPhone, download the free Patch app.)

Fourteen people have been charged in the scheme involving hacked debit card numbers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, who is being helped in the case by the U.S. Secret Service. “This plea shows that we are committed to identifying and bringing to justice cybercriminals from across the globe, wherever they are and however long it takes,” Horn said.

Federal investigators said that the plot began in 2008 when a team of hackers employed sophisticated hacking techniques to compromise a data encryption system that was used by RBS WorldPay. The hackers were able to break into RBS employees’ accounts using an ATM to access their payroll funds.

The hackers also obtained access to files containing 45.5 million pre-paid payroll and gift card numbers, Horn said. Once they accessed their cards, the crooks raised the cards’ respective credit limits to $1 million — within 12 hours.

“This case demonstrates the Secret Service is committed to protecting our nation’s critical financial infrastructure and payment systems,” said Special Agent Kenneth Cronin with the Secret Service’s Atlanta Office. “These types of cyber criminals use sophisticated hacking techniques to compromise computer systems and then utilize a global network of co-conspirators to withdraw millions of dollars from ATM machines from around the world. Our success in this case and other network intrusion investigations is a result of our close work with our domestic and international law enforcement partners.”

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled as the case is still being investigated by the FBI and Secret Service officials.


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