Federal prosecutors alleged the three masterminded a global scheme to steal data from more than 130 million credit and debit cards by hacking into the computer systems of five major companies, including Hannaford Bros. supermarkets, 7-Eleven and Heartland Payment Systems Inc., a credit-card processing company.
U.S. Secret Service courtesy of wired.com
Photo of Albert Gonzalez released to wired.com by Secret Service
The indictment in federal district court in New Jersey marks the latest and largest in at least five years of crime that has brought its alleged orchestrator, Albert Gonzalez of Miami, in and out of federal grasp. Detained in 2003, Mr. Gonzalez was briefly an informant to the Secret Service before he allegedly returned to commit even bolder crimes.
Authorities have previously alleged that Mr. Gonzalez was the ringleader of a data breach that siphoned off more than 40 million credit-card numbers from TJX Cos. and others in recent years, costing the parent company of the TJ Maxx retail chain about $200 million.
Mr. Gonzalez is in federal custody in Brooklyn, N.Y., awaiting trial for alleged efforts to hack into the network of the national restaurant chain Dave & Buster's Inc. He also faces charges in Boston in the TJX matter.
The alleged thefts in Monday's indictment took place from October 2006 to May 2008.
Wall Street Journal