- The Washington Times - Monday, August 17, 2009

The Justice Department on Monday charged a Miami man with perpetrating what it calls “the largest alleged credit and debit card data breach ever charged in the United States.”

Albert Gonzalez, 28, is accused of hacking into the computer networks of major American retail and financial outlets and stealing data relating to more than 130 million credit and debit cards, authorities said.

The Justice Department said Mr. Gonzalez, whose nicknames include “soupnazi,” targeted the 7-Eleven convenience store chain; Heartland Payment Systems, a New Jersey-based card payment processor; and Hannaford Brothers Co. Inc., a Maine-based supermarket chain.

According to authorities, Mr. Gonzalez and two unnamed co-conspirators unleashed a sophisticated attack on the networks and sent the stolen credit- and debit-card information to computer servers in California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Mr. Gonzalez already faces charges in two similar hacking cases, neither of which is on the scale of the new charges. In one earlier case, Mr. Gonzalez is charged with stealing credit-card information after hacking into the computer networks of TJX Corp., a discount chain that operates Marshall’s and TJ Maxx stores.

He also infiltrated BJ’s Wholesale Club, Barnes & Noble Inc., the Sports Authority, Boston Market restaurants, Office Max, Dave & Buster’s restaurants, DSW shoe stores and Forever 21, a popular women’s clothing retailer, according to authorities. In that case, he is accused of stealing 40 million credit-card numbers.

Mr. Gonzalez also was charged in another case with stealing credit-card numbers from Dave & Buster’s restaurants.

He is being held in New York and faces decades in prison if convicted in all three cases.

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