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Russian charged in largest cybercrime ring ever prosecuted in US pleads not guilty

Dmitriy Smilianets is accused of being a member of a team which stole credit card information, costing affected companies more than $300 million

By David Jones and Joseph MennReuters / August 13, 2013

An ATM is available for customers at a Wells Fargo bank in Atlanta, Ga. Russian Dmitriy Smilianets is accused of stealing over 160 million credit card numbers.

David Goldman/ AP Photo/ File

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A Russian man accused of being part of the largest cybercrime ring ever prosecuted in the United States pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that could send him to prison for decades.

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Dmitriy Smilianets, 29, of Moscow, entered the plea during an afternoon hearing in federal court in NewarkNew Jersey.

His attorney told Reuters that he would fight the charges and that he was looking into possible irregularities with the circumstances of his arrest last year in the Netherlands.

Smilianets wore an orange prison jumpsuit and stood with shackled hands and feet during the appearance with lawyer Bruce Provda before U.S. District Judge Jerome Simandle.

Smilianets is accused of conspiring with a team of hackers from Russia and the Ukraine to steal more than 160 million credit card numbers in a series of breaches that cost victim companies more than $300 million.

The companies infiltrated included financial firms such as NASDAQ and Heartland Payment Systems Inc, along with other well-known names including JetBlue Airways Corp and retailer J.C. Penney Co of Plano, Texas.

Prosecutors allege Smilianets sold the stolen data after it was taken by four other members of his team, including credit card data starting at $10 for an American number and $50 for a European number.

Smilianets was extradited to the United States in September 2012 and has remained in federal custody since. In Russia, he was most widely known as the founder of a championship electronic gaming team called Moscow 5, which traveled the world for competitions. Online, his handles included Dima Brave and Dima Bold.

If convicted, he faces up to 30 years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, another 30 years for wire fraud and five years each for gaining unauthorized access to computers and conspiracy to gain access.

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