Feeds

US jails Brit credit card fraud mastermind for 14 years

Why are they calling it identity theft, these days?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

An expatriate Brit who helped mastermind the US's biggest credit card fraud has been sentenced in New York to 14 years imprisonment.

Former computer help desk technician Philip Cummings, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and fraud offences last September over his central role in a scam believed to have hit more than 30,000 victims and cost millions through fraudulent transactions. At the time of Cummings' November 2002 indictment, investigators had confirmed losses of more than $2.7m. Losses from the scam - which ran for approximately three years - are now put at between $50m and $100m.

US District Judge George Daniels said the case "emphasised how easy it is to wreak havoc on people's financial and personal lives", the New York Post reports. Judge Daniels jailed Cummings for 14 years commencing 9 March 2005. He will also have to pay compensations to his victims, the amount of which will be decided at a later hearing. 400lb (182kg) Cummings has a heart condition but Judge Daniels turned down pleas from the defence to go easy of their client because of his medical condition.

Crime and punishment

Cummings worked for Teledata Communications, which supplies software to link the systems of banks and credit reference agencies, from mid-1999 until March 2000. He used this role to obtain confidential passwords and codes to download potential victims' credit reports before selling them on to crooks. Cummings was paid $30 for each report. The information he sold enabled criminals to impersonate victims and obtain fraudulent loans, access bank accounts and run up unauthorised credit card bills under false name.

More than 15,000 credit reports were stolen from credit reference bureau Experian, using passwords belonging to Ford Motor Credit Corporation. The passwords and subscriber codes of Washington Mutual Bank in Florida and Washington Mutual Finance Company in Crossville, Tennessee were also compromised. Cummings used this information to download reports even after he left Teledata and relocated from New York to Georgia.

The data sourced by Cummings fed a network of at least 20 credit card fraudsters across the US, according to prosecutors. A number of people have already pleaded guilty to involvement in the scam while other cases remain pending. ®

Related stories

World's largest ID theft felon faces 14 years' jail
Feds break massive identity fraud
ID theft: a $1bn a year crime
150+ cuffed in US-led cybercrime crackdown
Spammer charged in huge Acxiom personal data theft
ID theft hits 10m Americans a year

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.