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Federal judge hands down 20-year sentence in largest identity theft case in US history

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts [official website] on Thursday sentenced [DOJ press release] a computer hacker to 20 years in prison for his role in the one of the largest identity theft cases in US history. Judge Patti Saris also ordered Albert Gonzalez to pay $25,000 and serve three years of probation. Gonzalez pleaded guilty [DOJ press release] in December to conspiring to hack into computer networks and stealing financial information relating to tens of millions of credit and debit cards. Gonzalez is reported to have worked as an informant [CNN report] for bank card thefts for the US Secret Service [official website] before he was arrested in 2008.

The US Department of Justice [DOJ] originally indicted [JURIST report] Gonzalez along with two unidentified Russian hackers for wire fraud and conspiracy. He was accused of stealing more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers by hacking into computer systems of companies including credit card payment processor Heartland Payment Systems, convenience store chain 7-Eleven, and supermarket chain Hannaford Brothers. Gonzalez was charged in May 2008 in the Eastern District of New York and in August 2008 in the District of Massachusetts in separate conspiracies. Friday's sentencing addressed both sets of charges.

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