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Frenchman charged with cybercrimes pleads guilty in US court

A 22-year-old Frenchman who was extradited to the United States from Morocco and charged with cybercrimes has pleaded guilty.

Paul Raoult, the father of Sebastien Raoult, shows a picture of his son on his phone
Paul Raoult, the father of Sebastien Raoult, shows a picture of his son on his phone - Copyright AFP Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
Paul Raoult, the father of Sebastien Raoult, shows a picture of his son on his phone - Copyright AFP Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

A 22-year-old Frenchman who was extradited to the United States from Morocco and charged with cybercrimes has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft, officials said.

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

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

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

As part of a plea deal, 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 January 11.

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud is punishable by up to 27 years in prison while identity theft carries a minimum two-year prison sentence.

“Raoult and his co-conspirators used deceptive tactics to trick people into sharing personal login information and breached confidential data from numerous companies,” Gorman said.

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

Hacked data was then offered up for sale on dark web forums, including RaidForums, EmpireMarket, and Exploit, or held for ransom.

According to US officials, the Shinyhunters hackers stole hundreds of millions of customer records and caused losses of more than $6 million to victim companies.

AFP
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