Washington: A US court in San Francisco has sentenced Russian national Yevgeniy Nikulin to 88 months in jail over cybercrimes.
“It is a judgment of the court to sentence him to a grand total of 88 months,” Judge William Alsup said during the live-streamed hearing on Tuesday.
The US government insisted on 145 months, while the defence asked for time served, the judge added.
He refused to make a final statement in self-defence. “I am not going to make any statements,” he said in Russian via interpreter.
Nikulin was sentenced for 64 months for 3 counts of the indictment, and for an additional 24 months for another 2 counts.
The judge has imposed a 3-year term of supervised release.
“Upon release, the defendant will likely be deported and will not be in the US to be supervised,” he said. “The defendant shall comply with the rules of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and if reported, shall not re-enter the US without the expressed consent of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.”
In his final speech before sentencing, Alsup mentioned that he took into account several aspects, including the novel coronavirus pandemic and impossibility to Nikulin’s family to visit him because of this situation and his mother’s bad health.
“COVID-19 is a factor that makes prison time harder than two years ago,” he said.
Alsup recognized “a significant chance” that Nikulin will return to computer hacking upon coming back to Russia.
“Mr.Nikulin, you are a brilliant guy, very smart. I hope you will do something good in your life, rather than hacking computers,” the judge said.
The Czech police detained the Russian national in October 2016 and extradited him to the US in March 2018. The Russian authorities, who charged Nikulin with Internet fraud in 2009, requested his extradition on the same day as the United States, but the Czech Republic’s Justice Ministry granted the US request.
The US accused Nikulin of hacking into computers belonging to LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring’s online services. Nikulin has pleaded not guilty.