Monday, June 29, 2009

San Francisco Hacker Pleads Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Charges

Jason Cato writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

A San Francisco man pleaded guilty today in Pittsburgh this afternoon to federal charges of hacking into computer systems of financial institutions and other hackers to steal nearly 2 million credit card numbers, which were used to rack up more than $86 million in fraudulent charges.

Max Ray Vision, formerly Max Ray Butler, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill scheduled sentencing for Oct. 20. Vision faces up to 60 years in prison and substantial restitution.

Prosecutors in Pittsburgh charged Vision in 2007 after he sold credit card numbers and related information to a Secret Service informant living in Western Pennsylvania. Another informant, also from Western Pennsylvania, infiltrated Vision's criminal network, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Dembosky.

Vision, who used the Internet alias "Iceman," and a partner in Los Angeles, Christopher Aragon, established as a way to acquire, sell and use stolen credit card and other identity-related information, a practice known as "carding," Dembosky said. The Web site at its peak had approximately 4,500 members worldwide.

Secret Service agents arrested Vision in September 2007 after raiding his safehouse apartment in San Francisco. He apartment was rented under a fake name and was packed with computer equipment storing approximately five terabytes of encrypted data and 1.8 million stolen credit card accounts. The loss to Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover was approximately $86.4 million, Dembosky said.

"These losses were borne by the thousands of banks that issued the cards in question," Dembosky said.

More here.

Hat-tip: The Office of Inadequate Security


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