SEATTLE — A Russian man charged with hacking into U.S. businesses to steal thousands of credit card numbers has two weeks to provide a list of his assets to a federal judge, who will then decide if he has to pay for his federal public defender.
Roman Seleznev faces a 40-count indictment that charges him with running a hacking scheme from 2008 until his arrest in July. Federal prosecutors called him "a leader in the marketplace for stolen credit card numbers" and they said he collected millions of dollars selling that data to his co-conspirators.
Seleznev has been represented by several law firms since his arrest. But he fired his newest attorneys in January and submitted a financial affidavit saying he qualified for public defense.
U.S. District Judge Robert Jones appointed the federal public defenders' office to represent him, but prosecutors quickly filed a motion challenging that plan, arguing he has plenty of money to pay for his defense.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said an investigation revealed that Seleznev used an e-currency service called Liberty Reserve to process payments from people who bought the stolen credit card data. Law enforcement seized his account records and found that he had received more than $17.8 million in payments.
Searches of his laptop computer an iPhone also revealed evidence of his wealth and extravagant lifestyle, Barbosa said in his motion. A search found photos of piles of cash and high-end automobiles, records showing his extensive travel to exotic locations and receipts for hotels and air travel. He also owned two apartments in Bali and other properties, Barbosa said.
Seleznev's lawyers responded by saying the prosecutor's motion should be stricken and asked the judge to force prosecutors to destroy all copies of his financial affidavit, which had been filed under seal.
Jones heard arguments on the issue on Friday and dismissed Seleznev's motion.
Jones did not rule on Barbosa's motion. He instead issued an order requiring Seleznev to provide a list by April 3 of all bank accounts, any cash he has access to, all real property and their values, all vehicles and boats he owns and any other assets under his full or partial control, whether they are in the U.S. or some other country.
Seleznev's trial is set for Nov. 2.
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