A Ukrainian national who formed part of the FIN7 cybercrime organisation, which authorities say targeted businesses in 47 US states, stealing credit and debit card details, has pleaded guilty to hacking and wire fraud charges in Seattle, reports Radio Free Liberty.
Fedir Hladyr, 34, also agreed to pay $ 2.5 million in reparation as part of his plea on Wednesday in the US District Court. He faces imprisonment for up to 25 years.
Defence lawyer Arkadij Bukh said Hladyr, who was initially facing a sentence upwards of 100 years, agreed to plead guilty to the two counts, in order to have his prison time reduced. Hladyr admitted being a member of a hacker group called FIN7 that launched attacks against hundreds of US companies stealing the details of around 15 million debit and credit cards between 2015 and 2019, causing more than $100 million in losses.
The companies targeted included included Chipotle, Arby’s Red Robin and Jason’s Deli, prosecutors said.
Under the agreement, the US Attorney General dismissed 24 cases in the indictment, in return for which Hladyr is expected to cooperate with investigators and give them information about the FIN7 group.
Hladyr, who was a systems administrator for FIN7 was arrested last year in Germany. Two other members of the group, Dmitry Fedorov, who is being detained in Poland, and Andrii Kolpakov who was arrested in Spain, have also been charged.
The group sent phishing emails to hotel and restaurant employees and followed up with phone calls asking the recipients to open the email attachments, thereby infecting their computer with malware that allowed the hackers to access sensitive financial information. They would then sell the stolen information or use it to conduct fraudulent transactions.
The FBI has said it was one of the biggest cases in terms of losses, the number of victims, and the size of the criminal conspiracy.