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National Briefing / Florida

Guilty plea in identity theft

August 29, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A computer hacker accused of masterminding one of the largest cases of identity theft in U.S. history agreed to plead guilty and serve up to 25 years in federal prison for his crimes.

Albert Gonzalez was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in federal courts in New York and Boston. Court documents filed in federal court in Boston indicate the 28-year-old Gonzalez agreed to plead guilty to 19 counts and combine the two cases in federal court in Massachusetts.

The Miami man is accused of swiping the credit and debit card numbers of more than 170 million accounts; officials said Gonzalez was the ringleader of a group that targeted large companies such as T.J. Maxx, Barnes and Noble, Sports Authority and OfficeMax. Gonzalez must forfeit his computers, condo, car and cash; agents seized $1.1 million buried in his parents' backyard.

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