Hacker gets 20 years


A holiday snap from DefCon

One of the world’s most notorious computer hackers was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to helping run a ring that stole tens of millions of payment card numbers.

Albert Gonzalez, a 28-year-old college dropout from Miami, had confessed to helping lead a global ring that stole more than 40 million payment card numbers by breaking into retailers including TJX Cos Inc, BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc and Barnes & Noble.

It was the harshest sentence ever handed out for a computer crime in an American court, said Mark Rasch, former head of the computer crimes unit at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Altogether, Gonzalez and conspirators scattered across the globe caused some $200 million in damages to those businesses, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann.

He said it was not possible to quantify how much money was stolen from individuals. “They would quite literally go to ATMS and take out bundles of money from victims’ accounts,” Heymann told the court in Boston.

Under his plea agreement, Gonzalez had faced up to 25 years in prison, but asked the judge for leniency in sentencing, saying he had been addicted to computers since childhood, had abused alcohol and illegal drugs for years and suffered from symptoms of Asperger’s disorder, a form of autism…

Gonzalez, who buried $1 million cash in the backyard of his parents’ home, said that his crimes got out of control “because of my inability to stop my pursuit of curiosity and addiction…”

Throw away the fracking key!

Criminals whining for leniency because “their crimes got out of control” don’t impress. That only says he originally meant to steal at a measured pace.

There’s a much longer, more detailed account – if you find this crook interesting – over here.

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2 comments

  1. Morey

    Gonzalez … said that his crimes got out of control “because of my inability to stop my pursuit of curiosity….”

    That’s a new one.

  2. Mr. Fusion

    He knew what he was doing was wrong.

    I don’t believe any punishment should be “an eye for an eye”. In cases like this however, something very substantial is warranted.

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