PRINCETON, N.J. (12/21/09)--Heartland Payment Systems has agreed to pay American Express $3.6 million related to a 2008 hacking of Heartland’s payments network that cost card companies, credit unions and other financial institutions hundreds of thousands of dollars. “This settlement marks the first agreement with a card brand related to the intrusion,” said Bob Carr, Heartland chairman and CEO. Heartland also has disputes with other card brands including Visa and MasterCard (IDG News Service Dec. 17). More than 130 million credit and debit card numbers from card processor Heartland and Hannaford Bros., a Maine-based grocery store chain, were stolen by hackers in separate breaches. Thousands of credit unions and other financial institutions were forced to re-issue credit and debit cards to cardholders whose numbers and personal information were compromised as a result. Heartland has been sued by credit unions, financial institutions and other individuals for the costs they incurred to re-issue cards. Credit unions likely lost between $2.50 and $3.50 per card in re-issuing costs, and additional dollars for staff time (News Now Aug. 18). Albert Gonzalez, 28, a former Secret Service informant, and two others were charged conspiracy and conspiracy to engage in wire-fraud. Gonzalez also pleaded guilty to charges involving other breaches, including TJX, Office Max, Barnes and Noble and Boston Market (News Now Sept. 15). Gonzalez could face up to 20 years for wire-fraud conspiracy and another five for conspiracy if convicted on the Heartland and Hannaford breaches. He also faces a $250,000 fine per charge.