Albert Gonzalez was arrested in the Southern District of Florida on May 8, 2008 pursuant to this warrant:
Click On The Arrest Warrant To Enlarge It
The arrest arose out of Mr. Gonzalez’s alleged computer hacking / identity theft scheme which was later outlined in a May 14, 2008 New York superseding indictment. This superseding indictment in U.S.A. v. Yastremskiy, et. al., 08-cr-00160, claimed that Mr. Gonzalez and his co-defendants had stolen credit card information through computer intrusions at Dave & Busters, Inc. restaurants. Mr. Gonzalez and / or his co-defendants were accused of violating federal laws including but not limited to: conspiracy (18 U.S.C. §371); fraud related to computers (18 U.S.C. §1030); wire fraud (18 U.S.C. §1343 ); access device fraud (18 U.S.C. §1029); aggravated identity theft (18 U.S.C. §1028A); etc.
Almost three months after the superseding indictment was filed against him in New York, Mr. Gonzalez was next indicted in Massachusetts. According to the August 5, 2008 Massachusetts indictment in U.S.A. v. Albert Gonzalez, 08-cr-10233, Mr. Gonzalez had hacked computers which stored credit card information for BJ’s Wholesale Club, DSW, OfficeMax, Boston Market and others.
Like the New York superseding indictment, the Massachusetts indictment accused Mr. Gonzalez of: conspiracy (18 U.S.C. §371); fraud related to computers (18 U.S.C. §1030); wire fraud (18 U.S.C. §1343 ); access device fraud (18 U.S.C.§1029); and aggravated identity theft (18 U.S.C. §1028A). The Massachusetts indictment also essentially asserted that Mr. Gonzalez had hidden the proceeds of his hacking / identity theft scheme by money laundering through multiple jurisdictions.
It basically alleged that criminal proceeds had been transferred in a money laundering circuit with laundering links consisting of Latvian bank accounts and U.S. or Russian “web currency converters”. As their July 24, 2009 letter reveals, prosecutors also believed that Mr. Gonzalez had maintained stolen U.S. credit card information and computer hacking programs on a computer server in Latvia.
Prosecutors had apparently acquired this Latvian computer server and other supposed foreign computer evidence, by making Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty requests. Perhaps even worse for Mr. Gonzalez, is that he was indicted in New Jersey on Monday for the alleged theft of about 130 million credit / debit cards via a computer intrusion at Heartland Payment Systems. As I mentioned in the January 26, 2009 “Asset Search News Roundup“, the Heartland Payment Systems credit card theft could be the largest of its kind.
According to a press release, Mr. Gonzalez might have also used multiple jurisdictions in his supposed theft at Heartland Payment Systems. This could be true because Mr. Gonzalez is accused of storing stolen U.S. credit card information from Heartland Payment Systems on computer servers in: California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands and the Ukraine. Foreign computer evidence may therefore become an important part of Mr. Gonzalez’s prosecution in New Jersey, just as it could in his Massachusetts prosecution.
Copyright 2009 Fred L. Abrams