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San Francisco (AFP) Feb 1, 2013
A Dutch man was sentenced to 12 years in a US prison on Friday for being an online "broker" for credit card numbers stolen in a computer hacking conspiracy.
David Schrooten struck a plea bargain in federal court in Seattle after being extradited from Romania for his role in a computer hacking and credit card fraud scheme, prosecutors said.
Schrooten, known as "Fortezza" in the hacker world, pleaded guilty in November to criminal charges related to hacking, bank fraud, and identity theft, according to Western District of Washington US Attorney Jenny Durkan.
"By trafficking over 100,000 credit card numbers stolen by hackers, this defendant helped create the profitable black market for stolen data," Durkan said in a release.
"We will target every link of the cyber crook business model," she continued.
"The hacker who stole the numbers was sentenced to seven years in prison, the broker who sold them online was sentenced today to 12 years in prison and next before the court will be the leader of a criminal gang that was using these credit card numbers for fraud."
Schrooten, 22, worked with an accomplice who stole credit card information from businesses by infecting point-of-sale terminals with malicious computer code, according to prosecutors.
Schrooten and his ally, identified as 21-year-old Christopher Schroebel of Maryland, sold stolen credit card numbers online, prosecutors said.
Investigators estimated that tens of thousands of people had their credit card numbers stolen and sold, and losses were calculated to tally more than $63 million.
A California man is set to go on trial by the middle of the year for his purported role purchasing and using stolen credit card numbers, according to Durkan.
"David Benjamin Schrooten's online criminal activities victimized thousands of US citizens and defrauded US banking intuitions out of millions of dollars," said Seattle Secret Service Agent in Charge Jim Helminski.
His arrest and conviction "demonstrates the Secret Service' ability to pursue criminal actors beyond the borders of the United States."
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