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P2P ID thief cops a plea

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A Seattle man has admitted using file-sharing programs to pinch personal information on 50 people in an ID theft scam.

Gregory Kopiloff, 35, pleaded guilty to mail fraud, computer hacking and aggravated identity theft offences at a hearing before the US District Court in Seattle on Monday, UPI reports. As part of a plea bargaining agreement, prosecutors dropped a second aggravated ID theft rap, AP adds.

Kopiloff using P2P file-sharing program LimeWire to download tax and credit reports, bank statements and student financial aid applications unwisely offered up for sharing on the PCs of his victims. He also used conventional dumpster diving and mail theft techniques to build profiles of his victims.

The fraudster used this information to obtain credit and debit cards through which he ran up a $73,000 bill in fraudulent web purchases. Kopiloff faces a fine of up to $250K and a jail term of up to 20 years for the mail fraud offences at a sentencing hearing scheduled for 28 January. The aggravated identity theft conviction carries a mandatory two-year sentence in addition to any other sentence. The hacking offences carries a maximum punishment of up to five years and a $250K fine.

The hearing, before US District Judge James L. Robart, is likely to result in a much more lenient sentence, thanks to Kopiloff's decision not to contest the charges before a jury. ®

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