Ex-Canadian government official extradited for ransomware attack charges in US
A former Canadian government official has been extradited to the United States to face criminal charges alleging he deployed ransomware known as "NetWalker" to target companies, municipalities, hospitals and law enforcement in US during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The US Justice Department said that Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins, 34, of Gatineau, Quebec, was extradited on Wednesday after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida.
Prosecutors said Vachon-Desjardins is accused of launching a series of ransomware attacks between April and December 2020.
During a search of his home in January 2021, investigators found and seized 719 bitcoin, which is valued to be worth more than $28 million.
Vachon-Desjardins already faced parallel criminal charges in Canada earlier this year, including mischief in relation to computer data, extortion, unauthorized use of a computer and participating in a criminal organization, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
He pleaded guilty to three of those four charges on January 31, 2022. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
According to a LinkedIn profile for a Sebastien Vachon that appears to match his description, he previously worked as an IT consultant for Public Works and Government Services in Canada.