Credit Card Fraudster Gets 9 YearsStolen Card Details Used in Purchases Across the U.S.
A Turkish man has been sentenced to more than nine years in federal prison for his role in a fraud scheme that involved the compromise of payment card details at a San Diego hotel.
Alper Erdogan was sentenced for conspiracy to commit computer hacking, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida. In February, Erdogan was extradited to the U.S. to face the charges. He was initially indicted in September 2012; he pleaded guilty on April 18, authorities say.
In September 2010, the U.S. Secret Service learned that computer servers at the now shuttered SE San Diego Hotel had been hacked and malicious software had stored credit card magnetic track data that was then remotely accessed and eventually used at retail stores throughout the U.S., authorities say. At least 6,000 accounts have been identified by authorities as being compromised as part of the case, a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office says.
As the investigation progressed, authorities learned that the conspirators who used the cards in the U.S. purchased the information from Erdogan, who was then located in Azerbaijan. Erdogan provided criminals throughout the U.S. with thousands of stolen and hacked credit card numbers and the personal information of Americans, authorities say. He made more than $1.2 million in fraudulent credit charges between June 2010 and March 2011.
The spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office says Erdogan was not the hacker who compromised the hotel's system, but was provided credit card information stemming from the breach. Some 17 individuals who used the stolen credit card numbers have been convicted.
Erdogan perpetrated his offenses and communicated with his conspirators solely over the Internet, acting as a broker and providing the stolen and hacked information to criminals in the U.S. to enable them to commit fraud, authorities say.
In addition to his prison sentence, Erdogan has been ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution, the U.S. attorney's spokesperson says.
"United States citizens are increasingly the victims of computer hacking, identity theft, and credit card fraud committed by individuals residing in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and elsewhere," says U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III. "The United States Attorney's Office is committed to pursuing these individuals wherever they might be and extraditing them to the United States for prosecution."