A former US secret service informant who helped the agency hunt hackers has been charged for masterminding identity thefts from 130 million credit and debit card numbers, said to be the largest case in history.
In an indictment, the Justice Department said that Albert Gonzalez, 28, of Miami and two unnamed Russian conspirators made off with more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers from late 2006 to early 2008.
Prosecutors called it the largest case of computer crime and identity theft ever prosecuted. According to the government, the culprits infiltrated the computer networks of Heartland Payment Systems, a payment processor in Princeton.
An unspecified portion of the stolen credit and debit card numbers were then sold online, and some were used to make unauthorized purchases and withdrawals from banks, according to the indictment.
Gonzalez is a former informant for the US Secret Service who helped the agency hunt hackers, authorities said. The agency later found out that he had also been working with criminals and feeding them information on ongoing investigations, the New York Times reported.
Gonzalez, who is already in jail awaiting trial in a hacking case, was indicted on Monday in New Jersey and charged with conspiring with two other unnamed suspects to steal the private information.
Prosecutors say the goal was to sell the stolen data to others. Gonzalez faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the new charges.