At Boston’s John Joseph Moakley US Courthouse, US Attorney General Michael Mukasey spoke about the identity theft scam involving over 41 million stolen and sold debit and credit card numbers that bilked individuals and companies of hundreds of millions of dollars. Mukasey called the scheme the “largest and most complex identity theft case” that has ever been charged in the United States.
Alleged leader Albert “Segvec” Gonzales was indicted by a grand jury yesterday, along with 10 conspirators. Gonzales and two of his conspirators were charged in Boston, while the rest of the defendants were charged in San Diego.
Gonzales and his conspirators are accused of using laptop computers to tap into wireless networks, as well as hacking into the networks of Barnes and Noble, TJX, OfficeMax, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Boston Market, Sports Authority, Dave and Buster’s, Forever 21, and DSW. Once in the systems, the defendants allegedly used programs that were able to capture passwords, credit card numbers, and account data.
A lot of the stolen information was concealed in computer servers in the United Sates and Europe, while other data, according to law enforcement officials, was sold to other criminals. The hackers are also accused of encoding stolen numbers on blank credit and credit cards and using the cards to take out tens of thousands of dollars from ATM machines.
Charges against the defendants include conspiracy to possess and possession of unauthorized access devices, identity theft, trafficking in unauthorized access devices, aggravated identity theft, aiding and abetting, trafficking in counterfeit access devices, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Gonzales’s criminal defense attorney says that the evidence will prove that his client is innocent.
Identity theft involves crimes involving stolen personal information used in a deceptive or fraudulent manner and usually for financial profit. Common ways that identity theft can happen:
• Shoulder surfing-a person watches or listens in as the victim provides his or her financial or credit card info.
• Stealing a victim’s pre-approved credit card notice.
• Identity theft involving the Internet.
11 charged with massive ID theft, Boston.com, August 6, 2008
Remarks Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey at the Identity…, Reuters.com, August 5, 2008
Related Web Resources:
Identity Theft and Identity Fraud, USDoj.gov
Identity Theft Victims Guide, Privacyrights.org
If you have been charged with identity theft in Massachusetts, you are entitled to a Boston theft crimes legal team that can defend you against all charges. Contact Altman & Altman LLP today.