Gonzalez aka "soupnazi" was sentenced by U.S.
District Court Judge Patti Saris to 20 years in prison for his
role as a ringleader of an international group of hackers. The
sentence is the longest cybercrime sentence in U.S.
history.Gonzalez and his colleagues infiltrated corporate
networks to obtain 40 million payment card numbers. The
group's targets include TJX Cos Inc, BJ's Wholesale Club Inc, and
Barnes & Noble. They used these cards to score millions in
cash. It is estimated that they caused $200M USD in financial
damages worldwide.Now 28 years old, Gonzalez was troubled
since childhood. He suffered
from Asperger's disorder, a form of autism. He abused drugs
and alcohol during his time growing up in the Miami area. He
started college after graduating from high school, but end up
dropping out.All this time he was feeding his biggest
addiction -- computer crime. Describes Assistant U.S.
Attorney Stephen Heymann, "They would quite literally go to ATMS
and take out bundles of money from victims' accounts."Gonzalez's
world began to unravel in 1998 when he was caught for the first
time. In a secret plea deal he began to work as a U.S. Secret
Service informant, betraying his hacking colleagues. However,
he continued to use SQL hacking techniques to steal payment card
numbers during this time and was eventually caught
again in 2008.The hacker made little attempt at
concealing his ill-gotten profits, other than to bury $1M USD of them
in the yard of his parent'as house. Gonzalez purchased
expensive jewelery, watches, a luxury car, and even a Tiffany ring
for his girlfriend.At the time of his apprehension, Gonzalez
was reportedly living
large, renting a suite at the National Hotel in South Beach,
Florida. The is known for its luxurious accommodations and its
oceanfront location in the heart of the Art Deco district. He
blew $75,000 USD on a birthday party and bought real estate. He
even had the nerve to complain about having to count $343,000 USD of
his stolen money by hand, after his money counter broke.Judge
Saris could have sentenced Gonzalez to up to 25 years, but was
lenient due to his addictions. Gonzalez appeared contrite in
court, commenting, "I stand before you humbled by the past 22
months sober."He says he committed the crimes "because
of my inability to stop my pursuit of curiosity and addiction."U.S.
Attorney Heymann thinks he should have been handed a stiffer
sentence. He comments, "He shook a portion of our
financial system. What matters most is that teenagers and
young adults not look up to Albert Gonzalez. They need to know that
they will be caught. That they will be punished and that the
punishment will be severe."The prison sentence will
likely grow, though, when a judge sentences him on a second set of
charges for stealing 10 million+ more payment card numbers
from payment card processor Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven
Inc, the Hannaford chain of New England grocery stores, and
others.Due to the way criminal justice works in the U.S.,
Gonzalez could be eligible for parole before his entire sentence is
served, if he behaves himself in prison.Many of his cohorts
serving prison sentences. Some blame
Gonzalez for coercing them into the criminal scheme.
quote: because of my inability to stop my pursuit of curiosity
quote: Gonzalez's world began to unravel in 1998 when he was caught for the first time. In a secret plea deal he began to work as a U.S. Secret Service informant, betraying his hacking colleagues.
quote: "because of my inability to stop my pursuit of curiosity and addiction."
quote: money is an addiction
quote: And the UK isn't extraditing them because he did it against the US. If he hacked any other country, they wouldn't give it a second thought to hand him over. But despite owing it's very existence to America, and decades of being a solid ally, they have to go along with the same stupid anti-US sentiment.
quote: we went to war claiming Iraq had WMDs.
quote: In case you missed it there was an anti-US sentiment around the world thanks to the war on Iraq.
quote: UK and a number of other contries both during the start of the Iraq war and since Obama's election, that sentiment has changed dramatically.
quote: Uh how about us not letting India even question Headley so far, who helped orchestrate the attacks in Mumbai that killed 166? And that we made a deal with him to prevent his extradition?
quote: I always thought Tony Blair had the right idea. Support your allies.
quote: Many within the NATO alliance just pay lip service to it all while they sit on the side lines watching a few countries, (and one in particular) do the heavy lifting.
quote: Furthermore, the guy wasn't exorting money out of citizens, just looking for info on UFO's.
quote: Crime doesn't pay in the end