27-year-old Romanian national Cezar Butu has been sentenced to serve 21 months in prison for his role in the international fraud scheme that targeted payment card data from hundreds of United States merchants.Butu, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and agreed to be sentenced to 21 months in prison, admitted that he and his co-conspirators used stolen payment card data to make unauthorized charges and to transfer money from the victims’ accounts.
According to the United States Department of Justice, he admitted that he asked one of the co-conspirators to give him stolen payment card details, which he used to transfer funds from the targeted accounts and to make fraudulent charges.
He also attempted to sell the information to other co-conspirators. In total, Butu acquired the details of around 140 cardholders during the course of the multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.
The man was charged in December 2011, but US authorities arrested him only in the summer of 2012, after Secret Service agents posed as attractive young women and lured Butu and another suspect, Iulian Dolan, to the United States.
They pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them in September 2012.
In his plea agreement, Dolan agreed to spend seven years in prison, but his sentencing hearing is scheduled only for April 4, 2013. Another suspect in the case, Adrian-Tiberiu Oprea, is scheduled for trial next month.
The criminals started the scheme in 2008, when they began installing keyloggers and other malicious software on the computers of various businesses, including Subway restaurants. The pieces of malware helped them gain access to the information they needed in order to perform fraudulent transactions and purchases.