French hacker in US pleads guilty to wire fraud

French hacker in US pleads guilty to wire fraud

The 22-year-old Frenchman, who was extradited from Morocco to the United States in June and charged with cybercrime, said he had committed conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft.

Sebastien Raoult, also known as Sezyo Kaizen, entered the guilty plea Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington, the acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman said.

Originally from Epinal in eastern France, Raoult was arrested in Morocco last year and extradited to the United States in January.

In June 2021, Raoult and two co-conspirators, Gabriel Bildstein and Abdel-Hakim El-Ahmadi, who formed a dubbed hacking ring were indicted on nine counts by a US grand jury.

In his plea, Raoult pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The other counts will be dismissed at sentencing, which was set for Jan 11.

A conviction of wire fraud is punishable by up to 27 years in prison, while identity theft can be a minimum of two years in prison.

In a speech today, Gorman said, 'It's time for us to move forward in a new direction,' he said.

According to the plea agreement, Raoult and his co-conspirators hacked into computers of companies in the U.S. and abroad and stole confidential information and customer records.

The data that was stolen was then offered for sale on dark web forums, such as RaidForums, EmpireMarket, and Exploit, or held for ransom.

The Shinyhunters hacker stole hundreds of millions of customer records and led to losses of more than US$6 million to victim companies, according to U.S. officials.