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Three indicted in largest U.S. identity theft scheme

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three men were indicted on Monday for allegedly stealing more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers in what U.S. authorities said they believe is the largest hacking and identity theft case ever prosecuted.
Albert Gonzalez, a former government informant already in jail in connection with hacking cases, and two unnamed Russians were indicted on charges related to five corporate data breaches from 2006 to 2008.

Card numbers were stolen in those breaches from credit-card processor Heartland Payment Systems and retail chains 7-Eleven Inc and Hannaford Brothers Co, prosecutors said.

The men targeted two other corporations, the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey said in the statement, without naming those companies.

Heartland Payment Systems and Hannaford Brothers had previously and separately acknowledged the breaches, but the scope of the fraud had not been known.

Authorities also for the first time tied those cases to Gonzalez, who was arrested last year on suspicion of hacking into a restaurant chain's payment system.

Attorneys for Gonzalez were not available for comment.

Prosecutors said Gonzalez and the Russians, identified as "Hacker 1" and "Hacker 2", targeted large corporations by scanning the list of Fortune 500 companies and exploring corporate websites before setting out to identify


A year ago, Gonzalez was indicted along with 10 others from five countries on accusations of stealing 41 million credit and debit card numbers from major retailers, including TJX Cos Inc, owner of the TJ Maxx and Marshall's retail chains. Prosecutors said that ring caused more than $400 million in damages.
Source : Three indicted in largest U.S. identity theft scheme | U.S. | Reuters