Estonian Ransomware Operator Sentenced to Prison in US


An Estonian man was sentenced to 66 months in prison in the United States for his role in ransomware attacks that caused more than $53 million in losses.

The cybercriminal, Maksim Berezan, who was arrested in Latvia and later extradited to the United States, pleaded guilty in April 2021 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and device fraud.

Between 2009 and 2015, Berezan, who was an active member of an exclusive forum for Russian-speaking criminals, furthered the criminal aims of the portal and helped cybercriminals obtain and exploit stolen financial account information, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).

[ READ: Russian Who Helped Kelihos Malware Evade Detection Sentenced ]

Documents presented in court reveal that, after Berezan was arrested, investigators found evidence on his electronic devices of participation in multiple ransomware activities.

The investigation showed he participation in at least 13 ransomware attacks, including seven against victims in the United States.  Approximately $11 million in ransom payments landed in cryptocurrency wallets Berezan controlled, according to court documents.

The  Justice Department said Berezan used the illicit funds to purchase luxury cars and motorcycles, and jewelry.  The investigators recovered from more than $200,000 worth of currency, along with passphrases to Bitcoin wallets containing approximately $1.7 million in crypto coins.

Related: Two Bulletproof Hosting Administrators Sentenced to Prison in U.S.

Related: Canadian-US National Sentenced to Prison for Cybercrime Schemes

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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