Feeds

Trainee(!) dishwasher pleads guilty to $80m identity fraud

Obsessive Compulsive Theft

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A 32 year-old former trainee dishwasher (how can you be a trainee dishwasher?) has pleaded guilty to masterminding what investigators believe is the largest identity theft scam ever attempted.

Abraham Abdallah, a high-school dropout and restaurant worker, obtained the personal details of top figures in Hollywood and Wall Street (including Steven Spielberg and Microsoft's Paul Allen) to obtain fraudulent loans in their name and scam credit companies. Court documents filed in New York charge that he used this information, and details of US corporates and financial institutions, in a scam designed to net up to $80 million.

Yesterday Abdallah pleaded guilty to a 12-count indictment charging him with wire, mail and credit card fraud, identity theft and conspiracy, Reuters reports.

In his defence, Abdallah said he was not motivated by greed but by depression and an obsessive compulsive disorder.

"This case is not about money," he told U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska. "I have extensive history in this sort of thing... it always had to do with my ability to control my compulsions."

The case made news after a similar state prosecution last year which alleged that Abdallah used computers in public libraries and the phone to get credit records of numerous celebrities including Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Steven Spielberg.

He was accused of obtaining illegal access to stock and bank accounts belonging to billionaire investor Warren Buffett and the accounts of George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey, Ross Perot and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

At the time of his arrest in March last year, Abdallah had 800 fraudulent credit cards and 20,000 blank credit cards.

Police searches revealed "photographs, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses of more than 200 CEOs and more than 400 credit card numbers with matching addresses and personal information", Reuters reports.

Addullah alleged drew up his hitlist of celebrity victims using a list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, published by Forbes.

The former trainee dishwasher then used this purloined information to open fraudulent on-line accounts at Merrill Lynch and Fidelity Investments in the name of various high-profile businessmen. His scheme was revealed as he allegedly attempted to transfer $80 million in funds from legitimate accounts into accounts he controlled using fraudulent wire transfers and counterfeit cheques.

Fraud investigators or the victims successfully stopped or reversed the requested transfers. ®

Related Stories

Identity Thefts from the Rich and Famous
Stomp the identity thieves

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.