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Recidivist stock fraud hacker pleads guilty to ID theft

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A former stock fraud hacker has pleaded guilty to new fraud and identity theft charges.

Van T Dinh was jailed in 2003 for 13 months, after he was found guilty of offloading failed investments by hacking into the account of another stock trader and buying a percentage of the worthless derivatives Dinh was holding.

Instead of taking a hit from $90,000 in Cisco "put" options that were due to expire, Dinh designed a Trojan horse disguised as a stock charting tool to seize control of a victim's stock trading account. The Securities and Exchange Commission-led prosecution that followed the hack was the first to involve charges of both computer hacking and identity theft.

Dinh's misadventures as a 19-year-old Drexel University student and subsequent incarceration apparently did little to curb his instincts towards computer crime and financial shenanigans.

Last week, the 25-year-old pleaded guilty to new charges of breaking into the systems of a currency exchange service and attempting to steal $110,000 last December, Wired reports. The FBI traced a series of fraudulent account credits back to an IP address assigned to computers in a home Dinh shared with his mother in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Dinh was arrested in March and has been held without bail since in New York, partly over fears he'd carry out yet more attacks.

Dinh reportedly failed to profit from his latest scam, which was uncovered before any of the looted funds were withdrawn. The unnamed firm hit by the hack was however stuck with more than $5,000 in recovery costs, according to an FBI affidavit on the case. ®

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