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Shadowcrew six plead guilty to credit card fraud

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A further six people linked to the trade in stolen personal information and credit card details via the notorious Shadowcrew web site pleaded guilty on Thursday. The six are among 28 people charged last year following an undercover investigation, codenamed Operation Firewall, mounted by the US Secret Service against Shadowcrew.com, a members-only underground web site that became an online marketplace for credit card fraudsters and counterfeit identification document forgers.

The group of six pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud in New Jersey on Thursday in exchange for the state dropping other charges pending against them, Wired reports. They were named as: Andrew Mantovani, 23, and Brandon Monchamp, 22, of Arizona; Kim Taylor, 47, and Omar Dhanani, 22, of California; Jeremy Stephens, 31, of North Carolina; and Jeremy Zielinski, 22, of Florida. In total, 12 people have now pleaded guilty to Shadowcrew-related charges.

Shadowcrew members allegedly trafficked in at least 1.7m stolen credit card numbers and caused total losses in excess of $4m. Victims of this carding activity included banks and credit card companies, who bore the brunt of losses, as well as consumers whose identities and credit histories were damaged by identity theft.

Mantovani, suspected of co-founding Shadowcrew.com, also pleaded guilty to a second charge of trafficking in stolen identity information involving the sale of address and birth dates associated with 18m email accounts. This data made it easier for Mantovani and other fraudsters to run more powerful phishing scams. Credit and debit card details, once secured through these phishing scams, were used to fraudulently buy goods which were subsequently laundered through online auction sites.

Shadowcrew members are expected to be sentenced between mid-February and mid-March 2006. ®

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