A Georgia man who purchased stolen credit card data and other personal information through the identity theft and credit card fraud ring known as “Carder.su” was sentenced today to serve 115 months in federal prison. He was further ordered to pay $50.8 million in restitution.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Harris of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) in Las Vegas made the announcement. U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon of the District of Nevada imposed the sentence.
“Cyber thieves created a real criminal organization through the virtual world of the Internet, stealing credit card data and relying on technology, perceived anonymity, and international borders to evade law enforcement,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “Cameron Harrison made a living by using that stolen financial information.. Applying time-honored techniques from mob and gang prosecutions to this new generation of cybercriminals, we were able to infiltrate and bring down the Carder.su ring.”
“The financial toll exacted by identity theft and credit card fraud can be crippling to victims both financially and emotionally,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “These are far from victimless crimes and the members of this organization were responsible for the theft of over $50 million. We are working diligently with our law enforcement partners to ensure that the people who commit these high-tech crimes are put out of business.”
“This significant sentence is entirely fitting given that this defendant’s actions and those of the larger criminal organization harmed countless innocent Americans and seriously compromised our financial system,” said Homeland Security Investigations Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge. “Criminals like this defendant who believe they can elude detection by hiding behind their computer screens here and overseas are discovering that cyberspace affords no refuge from American justice. HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to track down these violators and see that they face the full weight of the law.”
Cameron Harrison, aka “Kilobit,” 28, of Augusta, Georgia, admitted at his guilty plea hearing that he became associated with the Carder.su organization in June 2008. According to Harrison’s admissions, Carder.su was an Internet-based, international criminal enterprise whose members trafficked in compromised credit card account data and counterfeit identifications and committed money laundering, narcotics trafficking and computer crimes. Harrison admitted that the group tried to protect the anonymity and the security of the enterprise from both rival organizations and law enforcement. For example, members communicated through various secure and encypted forums, such as chatrooms, private messaging systems, encrypted email, proxies and encypted virtual private networks. Gaining membership in the group required the recommendation of two current members in good standing.
Harrison admitted that he purchased compromised credit card account data and other personal identifying information from fellow Carder.su members. He further admitted to possessing over 260 compromised credit and debit card numbers, which were recovered from his computer and email accounts following his arrest.
Harrison was identified when he purchased a counterfeit Georgia driver’s license from an undercover special agent through the Carder.su network. During interactions with the undercover special agent, Harrison admitted to having been a vendor of counterfeit identifications in the defunct cyberfraud organization “ShadowCrew.”
Fifty-five individuals were charged in four separate indictments in Operation Open Market, which targeted the Carder.su organization. To date, 26 individuals have been convicted and the rest are either fugitives or are pending trial. Harrison pleaded guilty in April 2014 to participating in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization, conspiracy to engage in a racketeer influenced and corrupt organization, and trafficking in and production of false identification documents.
The cases were investigated by HSI and the U.S. Secret Service, and are being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jonathan Ophardt of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly M. Frayn and Andrew W. Duncan of the District of Nevada.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit:www.stopfraud.com[external link].