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Charges for man allegedly stealing credit card numbers online

Computers are an everyday part of most people's lives. They are used for business, fun, banking and learning. But, what happens when someone is accused of using a computer for a criminal purpose?

In South Carolina, prosecutors do not take computer and Internet crimes lightly. Often, serious charges are brought after extensive federal investigations. During these investigations, police can search through computer activity, email and many other types of Internet activity. They can also seize computers. Internet crimes, especially those involving identity thefts, often carry large penalties, including federal prison sentences.

One man recently charged with several Internet crimes in federal court now faces these penalties.

According to police, the 21-year-old man was recently extradited from Romania to the United States to face 14 federal criminal charges. These charges include intentional damage to a computer, fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy.

Prosecutors allege that this man created websites that he used to sell stolen credit card information. According the court documents, the man would hack into point-of-sale devices and other payment systems for businesses and take credit card numbers used in transactions. The businesses allegedly affected include the Boeing Employees Credit Union.

This man also allegedly hacked into other illegal websites that sold stolen credit card information and took those numbers as well. He stands accused of taking 44,000 numbers in one of these transactions alone. Purportedly, he would turn around and sell these numbers on his own website.

The accused man, like anyone accused of computer crimes, has constitutional protections to defend him from prosecutors. Before he can be found guilty, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was in fact the person taking and selling the credit card numbers. If the federal prosecutors fail to meet the burden of proof, the man will not be subjected to criminal liability.

Source: CIO, "Dutch Citizen Charged with Fraud, Identity Theft in Hacking Case," Jeremy Kirk, June 11, 2012

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