Court of Public Opinion: What Sentence Would You Give $36 Million Credit Card Hacker?


The sentencing hearing for an accused hacker is scheduled for July 22, and we’d like to hear what type of punishment you think is fair for the man accused of possessing more than 675,000 stolen credit card numbers.

The 26-year-old Georgia man pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit credit cards and aggravated identity theft. Court documents reveal that U.S. Secret Service special agents executed a search warrant in 2009 at the defendant’s home and found more than 675,000 stolen credit card numbers and related information in his computers and email accounts.

The suspect admitted in a court filing that since at least 2002, he has been trafficking in credit card information he obtained either by hacking into business computer networks and downloading credit card databases, or purchasing the information from others using the Internet through various “carding forums.”

According to the Department of Justice, these forums are online discussion groups used by “carders” to traffic in credit card and other personal identifying information.

The accused hacker admitted that he sold credit card information, manufactured and sold counterfeit plastic cards, and used the credit card information to acquire gift cards and merchandise.

Just how lucrative was this scheme?

According to court documents, he earned more than $100,000 a year by selling stolen account numbers for $20 to $25 each to people who would then use the stolen accounts to make online purchases.

Credit card companies have identified tens of thousands of fraudulent transactions using the card numbers found in his possession, totaling more than $36 million.

According to the Department of Justice, the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Do you think that’s lenient, fair, or excessive?

What do you think the judge should do on July 22?

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.