Feds: Russian Hacker Stole Millions From U.S. Zoo, Pizzerias, and Even a Deli

Roman Seleznev is on trial for stealing credit card info from hundreds of businesses, is represented by Ted Bundy’s lawyer, and is the son of a Moscow politician.”>

A small army of pizza eateries in Washington state is prepared to face off against one of the worlds most notorious accused hackers.

On Monday, Russian native Roman Seleznev appeared in a federal courtroom in Seattle for the first day of trial on a 40 -count indictment. Seleznev, the son of Russian parliament member Valery Seleznev, is accused of stealing and selling credit card data regarding Arizonas Phoenix Zoo, an Idaho deli, and at least eight Washington pizzerias. Following a controversial 2014 arrest( which his politician-father characterizes as an illegal abduct ), reports of a schemed escape attempt( which his father denies ), and rumors that the U.S. planned to swap him for Edward Snowden( which the U.S. denies ), Seleznev is ultimately get his day in courtrepresented by the lawyer who defended serial murderer Ted Bundy.

Hell face a number of pissed-off pizzeria owners.

From 2008 until his 2014 apprehend, Seleznev is accused of stealing charge card and bank information and selling them in shadowy online forums. Selezenev allegedly earned a profit of $200,000 from the racket that targeted approximately 200,000 credit card at 200 industries, according to an indictment( PDF ). Operating under screen names like nCux( Russian for psycho) and 2Pac, Seleznev allegedly sold charge card numbers for as little as$ 7 to purchasers who racked up over $170 million in expenses on the compromised accounts.

While these purchasers spent big with stolen credit cards, Washington pizzerias paid the cost.

Red Pepper Pizzeria serves up pizza and pasta in the smaller Washington city of Duvall. Owner Steve Bussing wasnt prepared for a hacker to target his eatery from thousands of miles away. It was a huge expense, he told the Associated Press. After their computers were compromised, Red Pepper was forced to close while Bussing and his wife expend approximately $10,000 upgrading their system.

Bussing is expected to testify against Seleznev, joining a list of Washington pizzeria employees from Village Pizza in Anacortes, Red Pepper Pizza in Duluth, Casa Mia in Yelm, and multiple Mad Pizza and ZPizza franchises statewide.

Theyre the lucky ones: some eateries targeted in the hack, like the Broadway Grill in Seattle, have been forced to close.

We are a tiny little company trying to manage this huge ogre of a restaurant and for someone to swoop in and try to completely wipe our accounts is a really scary thing, Broadway Grill proprietor Matthew Walsh told local news after their 2010 hacker. I am seriously worried about the future of our business without the support of our community.

Its not clear why Washington state pizza restaurants were targeted, but restaurantseven major franchisesare favorite targets for hackers looking for troves of credit card information.

Earlier this year, clients at Wendys noticed suspicious activity on their bank accounts after using their charge card at the restaurant. Wendys subsequently announced that credit card information had been stolen from more than 1,000 franchises. The credit card-scraping hacker followed a December attack on Landrys Inc ., a restaurant group that owns more than 500 eateries including Rainforest Cafe and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and a 2014 hack on Chinese restaurant chain P.F. Changs.

Like many hacks on eateries, Seleznevs alleged scheme targeted point-of-service software. These systems, which track clients bills, often run on old computers with outdated securitybut theyre connected to so-called home computers in the back of the restaurant, which process charge card information. By targeting point-of-service machines, Seleznev was allegedly able to upload malware to the house computers, intercepting customers charge card information and transmitting it to Seleznev every five minutes, the U.S. attorneys indictment charges( PDF ).

But Seleznevs legal squad ought to be able to put up a good fighting. He has hired legendary defense attorney John Henry Browne, who has represented serial murderer Ted Bundy and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who was convicted of murdering 16 Afghan civilians.

Seleznevs legal squad is the sixth define of lawyers assigned to his occurrence, which has slowly inched toward trial in the two years since his arrest. Quoting the wealth of financial information in the case( reportedly 10,000 pages and 4.75 terabytes of documents ), Browne has postponed the trial for months. But the interim period between Seleznevs arrest and trial has assured no shortfall of drama.

Seleznevs 2014 apprehend in the Maldives involved local police, U.S. agents are stationed in Thailand and Hawaii, and an Interpol warrant. The U.S. had had a warrant out for Seleznevs arrest since 2011, but was unable to extradite him from his home in Russia. Even when traveling outside Russia, Seleznev was careful to avoid countries that might ship him to the U.S .; in 2014 he chose to vacation on a luxe resort in the Maldives, allegedly because the Maldives and the U.S. did not have an extradition agreement.

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