The past year has been truly record breaking in terms of the magnitude of the crimes making headlines, most notably arch-Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, attorney scam artist Marc Dreier and the New Jersey public corruption scandal. Now the criminal record-setting has happened again in the area of identity theft. A federal grand jury in New Jersey has indicted Albert “Segvec” Gonzalez and two unnamed Russian co-conspirators for hacking into Heartland Payment Systems, a New Jersey-based credit card processing company, as well as Hannaford Brothers, 7-Eleven and two unnamed national retailers, as reported in Wired magazine. Gonzalez was a former informant for the U.S. Secret Service who was awaiting trial with 10 others on charges brought in 2008 for hacking into TJX, OfficeMax, Dave & Busters restaurant chain and other companies. Gonzalez and his co-conspirators are alleged to have stolen more than 130 million credit card and debit card numbers.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Erez Liebermann stated that the conspirators’ alleged actions constituted the largest data-breach and identity-theft case in U.S. history. The defendants face a maximum of 30 years in prison and potential millions in fines or restitution.