An Estonian man who was extradited to the U.S. in 2020 has just been sentenced for ransomware attacks that netted millions of dollars.
ZDNet reports that Maksim Berezan played a role in the scams, which cost businesses in the United States monetary losses in excess of $53,000,000. The attacks were orchestrated out of a forum that catered to those who speak or at least read Russian. The plaintiff, in this case, was 37 years old.
Rather than put up a fight in court, Berezan pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy. One count to “commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and [another count] to commit access device fraud and computer intrusions.” His sentence includes 66 months of prison time and $36m in restitutions. It was not stated if he would be facing further legal action in Lativa or Estonia upon his release.
How this particular thief was caught was not expanded on in the article. However, what we do know is that the Latvian and Estonian Police worked with the US DOJ. Considering Berezan was arrested while in possession of multiple expensive vehicles and a crypto wallet containing over a million dollars in Bitcoin, it probably wasn’t hard to track him down.
According to the DOJ’s press release, Maksim Berezan used the internet to perpetrate various scams between 2009 and 2015. U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia had this to say about the U.S.’s efforts to combat cyber attacks:
“The Secret Service remains committed to ensuring that modern conveniences of today that facilitate our lawful transactions and economic health are not leveraged by criminals for illicit activity and personal gain,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew Stohler of the U.S. Secret Service. “While we have long been in the business of protecting money, from the earliest days of coins and paper, to plastic, and today’s more accessible and commonplace digital currencies, we also remain in parallel footprint to the evolution of criminal behavior into cyberspace. Ransomware thieves are not safe in any dark corner of the internet in which they may think they can hide from our highly trained investigators and law enforcement partners worldwide. Together with our critical partners we are dedicated to protecting the public and securing every iteration of our money and every part of our national financial infrastructure.”