A Dutch man who was arrested and extradited from Romania was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for a computer hacking and credit card fraud scheme that left victims all over the world, including a business in Shoreline, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
The scheme involved more than 100,000 stolen credit card numbers, which were put on the black market for stolen data, according to a press release issued by Durkan's office.
David Benjamin Schrooten, 22, also known in the hacking world as "Fortezza," pleaded guilty in November to Conspiracy to Commit Access Device Fraud and Bank Fraud, Access Device Fraud, Bank Fraud, Intentional Damage to a Protected Computer, and Aggravated Identity Theft, according to the press release.
At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez asked him, “I don’t think you would ever consider walking into someone’s home, pulling out a gun and robbing them… Did it ever occur to you that you were doing that to all your victims?”
“By trafficking over 100,000 credit card numbers stolen by hackers, this defendant helped create the profitable black market for stolen data,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “We will target every link of the cyber crook business model. 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.”
Federal investigators say that Schrooten worked with Christopher A. Schroebel, 21, of Keedysville, Maryland. Feds say Schroebel hacked into the point of sale computers in a restaurant in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, and a restaurant supply store in Shoreline. Schroebel was sentenced to 84 months in prison in August.
According to investigators, Schroebel had possession of at least 86,400 stolen credit card numbers, including both card numbers that he himself stole, and card numbers stolen by others.
Federal investigators say that Schroebel worked with Schrooten to build “carding websites,” that made the stolen credit card numbers available to criminals for fraud. Investigators estimate that tens of thousands of people were victimized to the tune of more than $63 million.
One of the customers who purchased and used the stolen credit card numbers, rap artist Charles Tony Williamson, 33, aka "Guerilla Black" is also indicted for bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and computer hacking related crimes for his role in the fraud scheme. Williamson is scheduled for trial this spring.
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