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Russian pleads guilty in Virginia to large-scale card fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A Russian national pleaded guilty Thursday to running a website that helped people commit more than $20 million in credit-card fraud. Aleksei Burkov, 29, of St. Petersburg, Russia, entered the plea to charges including fraud and money laundering in a federal court in Alexandria.

He was extradited to the U.S. from Israel in November over the objection of Russian officials. An indictment accused Burkov of running a website called Cardplanet that let people buy stolen credit-card numbers for anywhere from $3 to $60. People used the numbers to make more than $20 million in fraudulent purchases. Prosecutors say Burkov even offered a money-back guarantee if a stolen card number no longer worked.

In court Thursday, Burkov admitted to running a second website on an invite-only basis that allowed cybercriminals to sell stolen data. Israeli officials have suggested Russia sought Burkov's release by offering an exchange for Naama Issachar, a 26-year-old Israeli woman who received a seven-year prison sentence in Moscow on marijuana charges.

Burkov faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years at his May 8 sentencing.

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