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Colombian ID thief coughs

Hotel keystroke-log scam financed luxury lifestyle

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A Colombian citizen has pleaded guilty to ripping off as many as 600 people after planting keystroke-logging software on the PCs of hotels.

Mario Simbaqueba Bonilla, 40, used his illicit income to finance trips to exotic locations (including Hong Kong, Italy, and the Caribbean) and expensive electronics. He carried out his scams both alone and as part of larger gangs, targeting US citizens including those in the military.

Bonilla's modus operandi was simplicity itself. After installing keystroke-logging software on computers located in hotel business centers and internet lounges, Bonilla used harvested credentials to steal or divert money from victims' accounts into other compromised accounts. He then transferred the loot to credit and debit card accounts.

Bonilla arranged for cards corresponding to these accounts to be mailed to himself and others at commercial mailing addresses. Bonilla activities sparked an investigation, leading up to his arrest last August. He was caught flying with an airline ticket purchased with stolen funds and with a laptop, also purchased with stolen funds. The laptop contained the names, passwords, and other financial information of more than 600 prospective marks.

More on the case in a DoJ statement here. ®

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