- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A federal jury in Sacramento has convicted a hacker accused of breaking into more than 100,000 of American Express accounts and handing off funds to Russia.

The Sacramento Bee reports (https://bit.ly/2kSoNYt ) that 37-year-old Mihran Melkonyan on Tuesday was found guilty of 26 counts of wire and mail fraud.

Prosecutors say Melkonyan and two other defendants compromised the American Express accounts of 119,000 customers all over the U.S., making off with $300,000 and $400,000 through phony online businesses created with identities stolen from Sacramento-area high school students.

Melkonyan’s attorney argued his client wasn’t a major player and that his two co-defendants were in charge of the operation. Ruslan Kirilyuk disappeared Feb. 7 while awaiting trial and Aleksandr Maslov is being examined for his mental competency.

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Information from: The Sacramento Bee, https://www.sacbee.com

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