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Accused Superhacker Pleads Guilty

Gonzalez admits helping to lead gang that stole some 40 million credit and debit card numbers
One of the authors of the security breaches at TJ Maxx, BJ's Wholesale Club, and many other retailers is now facing up to 25 years in prison.

Anthony Gonzalez, who also has been linked to thefts at Heartland Payment Systems and Hannaford Brothers, among others, pleaded guilty in a Massachusetts court on Friday, according to a Reuters wire report.

The federal judge who accepted Gonzalez's plea is still pondering how to compensate the millions of victims of the identity theft ring, the report says.

Judge Patti Saris reviewed the 20 charges to which Gonzalez pleaded guilty and set a sentencing date for December, but she first intends to review how authorities might compensate his victims, including retailers, banks, and millions of individuals.

Authorities confiscated cash, computers, a condominium, and a handgun from Gonzalez, collectively worth more than $1.6 million, according to the report. His attorneys and prosecutors agreed that those assets would be "modest" compared with the damages he had caused his victims.

"I have a sinking sensation that the number of victims may exceed the available recovery," Saris said in court.

Prosecutors called Gonzalez the "ringleader" of the identity theft operation, but Gonzalez's lawyers said he was only a "co-conspirator." One attorney said Gonzalez is "extremely remorseful," the report says.

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