A 22-year-old Frenchman, Sebastien Raoult, also known as Sezyo Kaizen, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft charges in the United States. Raoult entered his guilty plea on Wednesday in US District Court in Seattle, Washington, according to acting US Attorney Tessa Gorman.
Raoult, originally from Epinal in eastern France, was arrested in Morocco last year and extradited to the United States in January. He, along with two co-conspirators, Gabriel Bildstein and Abdel-Hakim El-Ahmadi, formed a hacking ring called “ShinyHunters.” The trio was indicted on nine counts by a US grand jury in June 2021.
As part of a plea deal, Raoult admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The remaining charges will be dismissed at sentencing, scheduled for January 11. Conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 27 years in prison, while identity theft carries a minimum two-year prison term.
According to US officials, Raoult and his co-conspirators employed deceptive tactics to trick individuals into sharing personal login information and breached confidential data from numerous companies. The group hacked into the computers of companies in the United States and elsewhere, stealing confidential information and customer records. The stolen data was then offered for sale on dark web forums, including RaidForums, EmpireMarket, and Exploit, or held for ransom.
The ShinyHunters hackers are believed to have stolen hundreds of millions of customer records and caused losses exceeding $6 million to victim companies, according to US authorities.