Security

US Man Pleads Guilty to $36.6 Million Worth of ID Theft

A Georgia man connected to US$36.6 million in credit card fraud pleaded guilty Thursday to trafficking in counterfeit credit cards and aggravated identity theft, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

U.S. Secret Service agents found more than 676,000 stolen credit card numbers on computers and e-mail accounts belonging to Rogelio Hackett Jr. when they searched his home in June 2009, the DOJ said. Hackett, 26, of Lithonia, Georgia, faces up to 10 years in prison on the access device charge and another two years on the identity theft charge.

Hackett also faces fines of up to twice the losses suffered by victims. Credit card companies have identified tens of thousands of fraudulent transactions, with a total of more than $36.6 million, using the card numbers found in Hackett's possession, the DOJ said.

Secret Service agents purchased 40 counterfeit credit cards from Hackett in June 2009, paying $1,180 for the cards, court documents said.

Since 2002, Hackett trafficked in credit card information he obtained either by hacking into businesses' computer networks or by purchasing stolen credit card numbers through online "carding forums," according to court documents. Carding forums are online discussion groups where thieves sell stolen credit card information.

Hackett stole more than 359,000 credit card numbers from an unnamed online ticketing company in attacks beginning in August 2007, according to court documents.

The defendant made more than $100,000 from his ID theft efforts, according to court documents.

Hackett also sold credit card information, manufactured and sold counterfeit plastic cards, and used the credit card information to acquire gift cards and merchandise, the DOJ said.

Hackett's sentencing is scheduled for July 22 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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