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Carder linked to TJX hack jailed for 30 years by Turkish court

Ukrainian boards Midnight Express

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A Ukrainian fraudster linked to the infamous TJX hack was sentenced to a 30 year prison sentence in Turkey on unrelated charges this week.

Maksym Yastremskiy (AKA Maksik) was found guilty of hacking into the computer systems of 12 Turkish banks, as well as committing computer fraud against them, according to local reports. The court also reportedly fined Yastremskiy $23,200.

Yastremskiy was arrested by police in Turkey in July 2007, after visiting a nightclub in the beach resort of Kemer, in an operation US law enforcement agencies soon realised was key to unraveling the TJX hacking case.

It emerged within weeks that Yastremskiy was fencing hundreds of hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers linked to hacking attacks at US retail outlets, including TJX, through various underground carders forums. Yastremskiy was charged last August with trafficking in stolen credit card information harvested from a string of retail firms including TJX, OfficeMax, Barnes & Noble, Forever 21, DSW, and Marshall's, among others.

Alleged ringleader Albert "Segvec" Gonzalez of Miami allegedly conspired with ten other suspects (including Yastremskiy) to hack into the insecure networks maintained by the US retailers and lift 40 million credit and debit card numbers. Since the heist against TJX alone affected 45.6 million customers alone these colossal figures are, if anything, a possible underestimate of the possible extent of the crime.

US investigators alleged that Yastremskiy, 25, was responsible for fraudulent losses running into millions, which he used to finance a jet setting lifestyle.

Yastremskiy, of Kharkov, Ukraine, and Aleksandr "Jonny Hell" Suvorov, of Sillamae, Estonia were charged in the US with fencing the stolen credit card numbers obtained by the American co-conspirators, as well as aggravated identity theft and hacking offences. Yastremskiy allegedly made $11m through card fraud and money laundering.

US authorities filed extradition papers against Yastremskiy, but he still ended up standing trial in the Turkey over separate offences, where he received one of the longest cybercrime sentences ever handed down. If he ever makes it to the US it's a reasonable bet that he'll become a star witness for the prosecution, possibly in exchange for assurances of a shorter spell behind bars in a comparatively comfortable US prison. ®

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