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Florida - Ringleader Sentenced in TJX Credit Card Fraud

An ID stealing ringleader in Florida, identified as Irving Escobar, has been send in prison for five years from 2007 to 2012. He had hacked minimum 45 Million credit card numbers belonging to the retail customers of TJX Cos.

TJX is a Framingham-based retailer, which operates retail chains such as the T.J. Maxx, Home Goods, Marshalls, and A.J. Wright. In January 2007, the company disclosed that hackers attacked its system that recorded debit card and credit card transactions, the Attorney General's office said.

The office of Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum was prosecuting the case where Irving Escobar was pleaded guilty in March 2007. As per the news published by IHT on September 13 2007, court ordered him to pay U.S. $600,000 as compensation.

In March 2007, police arrested five more people in addition to Escobar involved in the scheme. Four of them, who pleaded guilty on the same charges, were sentenced in August 2007 to serve probation. The fifth person, Nair Alvarez, mother of Escobar, also pleaded guilty but was deported from the country to Venezuela because she did not possess proper immigration documents.

The gang members were also charged for using information from stolen data belonging to customers in Framingham, Massachusetts-based TJX. TJX owns 2,500 discount retail shops all over the world, including Marshalls and T.J. Maxx.

The criminal probe by the police department of Gainesville, Fla., and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement unearthed a complex maneuver in the use of fake credit cards created from stolen card details. Escobar, the leader of the operation, coordinated the use of the cards to buy gift cards from Sam's Club and Wal-Mart. Other members of the gang also bought items like electronics and jewelry. As a result, nationwide losses were estimated at around three million dollar.

In August 2007, authorities arrested a Ukrainian man in Turkey suspecting him of selling the card numbers obtained from the TJX data breach. But they also said that he was not involved in the data breach disclosed by TJX in 2007 January. In March 2007, the company revealed that one or more trespassers obtained data from around 46 Million credit and debit card transactions from as early as 2003.

Related article: Florida’s ‘CyberCrime Awareness Week’ Promotes Activities for Cyber Safety

» SPAMfighter News - 9/28/2007

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