Romanian Hacker Remotely Hacks into and Steals Payment Card Data from Hundreds of U.S. Merchants’ Computers
A Romanian national was sentenced this month to serve 21 months in prison for his role in an international, multimillion-dollar scheme to remotely hack into and steal payment card data from hundreds of U.S. merchants’ computers, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire John P. Kacavas; and Holly Fraumeni, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Manchester, N.H., Resident Office.
Cezar Butu, 27, of Ploiesti, Romania, was sentenced by Judge Steven J. McAuliffe in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire. On Sept. 17, 2012, Butu pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. In his guilty plea, Butu admitted that, from approximately 2009-2011, he participated in a Romanian-based conspiracy to hack into hundreds of U.S.-based computers to steal credit, debit and payment account numbers and associated data (collectively “payment card data”) that belonged to U.S. cardholders.
According to court documents, Butu and his co-conspirators used the stolen payment card data to make unauthorized charges on, and/or transfers of funds from, cardholders’ accounts (or alternatively to transfer the stolen payment card data to other co-conspirators who would do the same). Butu admitted that he repeatedly asked an alleged co-conspirator to provide him with stolen payment card data and that the alleged co-conspirator provided him with instructions for how to access a website where a portion of the stolen payment card data was stored. Butu later attempted to use the stolen payment card data to make unauthorized charges on, or transfers of funds from, the accounts. According to Butu’s plea agreement, he also attempted to sell, or otherwise transfer, the stolen payment card data to other co-conspirators for them to use in a similar manner. Butu admitted to acquiring stolen payment card data belonging to approximately 140 cardholders during the course of the scheme.
In his plea agreement, Butu agreed to be sentenced to 21 months in prison. Butu’s co-conspirator Iulian Dolan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, and has agreed to be sentenced to seven years in prison. Dolan’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 4, 2013. Alleged co-conspirator Adrian-Tiberiu Oprea is scheduled for trial on Feb. 20, 2013, in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire. The case was investigated by the USSS, with the assistance of the New Hampshire State Police and the Romanian Directorate of Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Mona Sedky in the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold H. Huftalen from the District of New Hampshire.
(Sources: USDOJ.gov, CyberCrime.gov)