Man linked to multi-million dollar ransomware attacks gets 66 months in prison for online fraud

An Estonian man connected to multimillion dollar ransomware attacks has received a 5-and-a-half-year jail sentence for his involvement in online fraud schemes.

The US Department of Justice says Maksim Berezan, a 37-year-old from Estonia, took part in at least 13 ransomware attacks, including seven against American businesses, which cost victims over $53 million in losses. 

Berezan was an active member of an online forum designed for Russian-speaking cybercriminals to gather and exchange their criminal knowledge, tools, and services, the DoJ said.

Berezan was arrested in Latvia in November 2020 and extradited to the US where he pleaded guilty in April 2021 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and conspiracy to commit access device fraud and computer intrusions. 

Following his arrest, police searched Berezan investigated his computers and found evidence of his involvement in ransomware attacks, with $11 million in ransom payments flowing through cryptocurrency wallets he owned. 

SEE: Cybersecurity: Let’s get tactical (ZDNet special report)   

According to court documents, he used the money made from cyber crime to buy two Porsches and a Ducati motorcycle, along with an assortment of jewelry. Authorities confiscated $200,000 in cash from Berezan’s home, along with cryptocurrency wallets holding $1.7 million in Bitcoin. 

The Eastern District of Virginia

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