- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Russian cybercriminal Kirill Victorovich Firsov has received a 30-month sentence and will be deported from the U.S. for running the now-defunct DEER.IO website, the Department of Justice said.

The 30-year-old from Moscow has been jailed in the U.S. since March 2020, when he was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after the FBI said it used the site to buy stolen data.

In a plea agreement filed in San Diego federal court, Firsov admitted prosecutors could have shown that DEER.IO had facilitated at least $1.2 million in sales of U.S.-based stolen information.

“This platform provided cybercriminals with easy access to the personal accounts and information of people around the world, including Americans,” Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said of the site.

“Stopping that flow of stolen information to criminals is critical to addressing the cybercrime threats facing our country, and we will prosecute those who are responsible,” he said in a statement.

Launched in late 2013, DEER.IO leased space on its site for cybercriminals to sell illegal products and services. Firsov admitted in the plea agreement that he was its administrator until his arrest.

DEER.IO went offline a couple of weeks after Firsov was arrested. At the time, the site boasted approximately 3,000 active shops with sales exceeding $17 million, he acknowledged in the plea agreement.

In earlier court filings, the government said that FBI agents had used DEER.IO to purchase stolen data including the personal information of over 3,600 Americans. Firsov was arrested shortly afterward.

Firsov had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Igor Litvak, his lawyer, told The Washington Times he believes the 30-month sentence his client received was too steep.

“The sentence itself is not a fair sentence,” Mr. Litvak said in an email. “Time served would have been a fair and reasonable sentence, which would have amounted to 15 months. Mr. Firsov and I don’t believe the Court properly evaluated his role within the DEER.IO, or the offense.”

The Justice Department announced Firsov‘s sentence in a news release Monday, although court records for that hearing were not publicly available online as of Tuesday.

Firsov acknowledged in the plea agreement, filed in January, that a conviction meant it was guaranteed he will be deported. He is currently jailed at a private prison in San Diego, his lawyer said.

In handing down her sentence, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant noted Firsov would likely be incarcerated while he awaits deportation proceedings, the Justice Department said.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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