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Accused Record ID Theft Mastermind to Plead Guilty in 2 Earlier Cases, Feds Say

Posted Aug 28, 2009 3:15 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A 28-year-old Florida resident accused of masterminding what authorities say is the largest-ever computer hacking and identity theft case is expected to plead guilty in two earlier cyberfraud conspiracy cases, prosecutors say.

Paperwork filed in federal court in Boston today states that Albert Gonzalez will plead guilty by Sept. 11 to 19 felony charges including conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the Associated Press, the Blog of Legal Times and the Miami Herald.

The two initial cases against Gonzalez, in federal court in New York and Boston, will now be combined in Boston, and the 19-count plea addresses the charges in both cases, reports the Associated Press. The plea includes an agreed prison sentence of between 15 and 25 years, to run concurrently with any sentence that Gonzalez may get if he is convicted in the record-breaking federal hack attack case in which he was indicted earlier this month in federal court in New Jersey.

The earlier cases concern a once-record-breaking cyber ID theft case involving TJX Cos., the owner of the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls discount clothing retailers, and a previous hack attack on the Dave & Busters restaurant chain.

Authorities say Gonzalez was arrested in a hacking case in 2003, but was not charged and was allowed to move to Florida after he agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Secret Service. While doing so, however, he allegedly continued for the next five years to hack into the computer systems of Fortune 500 companies, the AP reports.

Attorney Rene Palomino Jr. represents Gonzalez. He could not be reached for comment today, the AP reports, but told the news agency yesterday that his client is "extremely remorseful as to what has happened."

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Alleged Mastermind in Biggest-Ever ID-Theft Prosecution Faces 2 Other Cases"

ABAJournal.com: "Alleged Architect of Record Hack Attack is Computer Addict, His Lawyer Says"

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