21-year-old David Benjamin Schrooten, a Dutch citizen accused of stealing 44,000 credit card numbers, was extradited from Romania and appeared in a US courtroom for the first time yesterday.
The suspect, arrested
in Romania in March, was indicted on 14 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, intentional damage to a computer, and access device fraud.
“This defendant has wrought havoc on victims and financial institutions around the world. This indictment alleges that in just one transaction he trafficked in as many as 44,000 stolen credit card numbers resulting in millions of dollars in losses to financial institutions,” said U.S. attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
With their actions, US authorities want to send a clear message to cybercriminals.
“Cybercriminals need to know: We will find you and prosecute you. I commend the cyber investigators at the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force and Seattle Police Department for tracking down these international criminals.”
Alongside Schrooten, Christopher A. Schroebel, aged 21, of Keedysville, Maryland is also accused of participating in the commercialization of the stolen credit card information.
Investigators believe that Schroebel breached the systems of a couple of businesses from the Seattle area and planted pieces of malware on their point of sale terminals. This allowed him to obtain information on the credit card transactions.
Schroebel, who was arrested back in November 2011, has already pleaded guilty, his sentencing being scheduled for August 10, 2012.
Judging by the fact that bank fraud is punishable by as much as 30 years in prison, access device fraud and damaging a computer with up to 10 years, and conspiracy by another 5 years, Schrooten might spend a large part of his life behind bars, if he is found guilty of course.
Besides the prison sentence, he may also be forced to pay considerable fines.
For those who may be wondering what a Dutch hacker was doing in Romania, according to Brian Krebs
, he was there to meet some "fellow hackers."