By Kevin Poulsen
March 19, 2010
Computer hacker Albert Gonzalez deserves a quarter-century behind bars
for leading a gang of cyberthieves who stole tens of millions of credit
and debit card numbers from a transaction processor and several giant
retail chains, federal prosecutors argued in a court filing Thursday
"[T]he sentences would be the longest ever imposed in an identity theft
case and among the longest imposed for a financial crime, which is
appropriate because Gonzalez was at the center of the largest and most
costly series of identity thefts in the nation's history," wrote
Boston-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann. "He knowingly
victimized a group of people whose population exceeded that of many
major cities and some states."
The government also disputed a defense claim that Gonzalez suffers from
Asperger's disorder, a mild form of autism that was grounds for a
slightly reduced sentence in a previous hacking prosecution.
Gonzalez, 28, is set for sentencing next week on three indictments
covering virtually every headline-making bank-card theft in recent
years, including intrusions at TJX, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Office Max,
Hannaford Brothers, 7-Eleven, and Heartland Payment Systems, which alone
exposed magstripe data on 130 million credit and debit cards. He
performed the intrusions while an informant for the Secret Service.
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