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ID theft ring leader--a fed informant--could get life
NEW YORK (8/8/08)--A key figure in data breach theft indictments earlier this week was an informant working with the U.S. Secret Service while he allegedly led an international ring that stole millions of dollars through data breaches against nine retailers, including TJX Cos. If convicted of all charges, Albert "Segvec" Gonzalez of Miami faces a life term in prison, said U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey at a news conference in Boston (OrlandoSentinel.com Aug. 6 and Miami Herald Aug. 6). Gonzalez is in custody in New York. He is accused of masterminding the series of data breaches that cost credit unions and other card issuers and their insurance companies millions of dollars. The indictment said as an informant for the Secret Service, Gonzalez "used sensitive law enforcement information…to warn off conspirators." The series of breaches took place over four years, beginning in 2004 with the restaurant chain Boston Market. The largest breach, announced in January of 2007 by TJX Cos., compromised at least 45 million cards. Some estimates doubled that figure. Two other Miami men, Christopher Scott and Damon Patrick Toey, were charged with "wardriving," or driving around commercial areas and using wireless networks to hack into computers. Other indictments were against Maksym "Maksik" Yastremskiy of Ukraine; Aleksandr "Jonny Hell" Suvorov of Estonia; Hung-Ming Chiu and Zhi Zhi Wang, both of China; Sergey Pavlovich of Belarus; and Dzmitry Burak and Sergey Storchak of Ukraine. A final indictment is known only by an online moniker, "Delpiero." Yastremiskiy allegedly received more than $11 million from operating the ring. The arrests were the result of a three-year undercover investigation.
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