(Source: By Jeff Proctor, Albuquerque Journal, N.M. (MCT) – A two-year FBI sting operation aimed at cyber-thieves netted 24 arrests, including one in Albuquerque, this week, according to federal officials. Sean Harper, 23, was arrested Tuesday in Albuquerque on one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, according to court papers filed in New York. If convicted, he could face up to 7½ years in prison.
The U.S. Justice Department says a computer server used for “carding” was housed in New York, according to a news release.
“ ‘Carding’ refers to various criminal activities associated with stealing personal identification information and financial information belonging to other individuals — including the account information associated with credit cards, bank cards, debit cards, or other access devices — and using that information to obtain money, goods, or services without the victims’ authorization or consent,” a news release states.
Harper is accused of selling “drop services” to other “carders,” the news release states, meaning others involved in the alleged conspiracy sent expensive electronics, jewelry and other goods they had obtained with stolen information to Harper in Albuquerque.
In exchange, the court papers say, Harper was allowed to fence the goods, keep some of them or both.
Agents made arrests in the case in 13 countries including the United States, the news release states.
“From New York to Norway and Japan to Australia, Operation Card Shop targeted sophisticated, highly organized cyber criminals involved in buying and selling stolen identities, exploited credit cards, counterfeit documents, and sophisticated hacking tools,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said in the news release. “Spanning four continents, the two-year undercover FBI investigation is the latest example of our commitment to rooting out rampant criminal behavior on the Internet.”
According to the news release, more than 400,000 credit and debit cards were compromised. The operation thwarted more than $200 million in potential losses to 47 companies.
©2012 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)
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