Thursday, March 25, 2010

TJX Hacker Gets 20 Years in Prison

Via -

Convicted TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday for leading a gang of cyberthieves who stole more than 90 million credit and debit card numbers from TJX and other retailers.

The sentence for the largest and costliest computer-crime case ever prosecuted is the longest ever imposed in a hacking or identity-theft case. And it is among the longest imposed for a financial crime. It beats out a sentence recently imposed on hacker Max Ray Vision, who received 13 years in prison for similar crimes.

Gonzalez, 28, who dubbed his criminal enterprise “Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” argued in court filings that his only motive was technical curiosity and an obsession with conquering computer networks. But chat logs the government obtained showed Gonzalez confiding in one of his accomplices that his goal was to earn $15 million from his schemes, buy a yacht and then retire.

The government claimed in its sentencing memo that companies, banks and insurers lost close to $200 million, and that Gonzalez’s credit and debit card thefts “victimized a group of people whose population exceeded that of many major cities and some states.”

Gonzalez’s crimes were committed mostly between 2005 and 2008 while he was drawing a $75,000 salary working for the U.S. Secret Service as a paid undercover informant.

The sentence relates to hacks into TJX, Office Max, Dave & Busters restaurant chain, Barnes & Noble and a string of other companies.

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