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VoIP hack suspect fugitive extradited back to US

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A Venezuelan hacking suspect arrested in Mexico last February on computer hacking and fraud charges faces a court appearance in New Jersey on Tuesday, following his extradition to the US last week.

Edwin Pena, 26, a former Miami resident, fled from US justice in August 2006 two months after he was bailed on charges of hacking into phone systems and stealing VoIP call credits. Pena allegedly resold these services in collusion with an accomplice, Robert Moore of Washington. Pena and Moore raked in an estimated $1.4m through the alleged sale of 10 million voice call minutes stolen from telecoms suppliers.

Moore pleaded guilty multiple computer hacking and fraud offences in late 2007, resulting in a two year jail sentence. His admitted involvement in the scam involved scanning telecom supplier networks for vulnerabilities between June 2005 and October 2005. Pena, the alleged brains of the operation and major beneficiary, use Moore's reconnaissance to draw up a list of targets for attack.

The Venezuelan used brute force techniques to extract activation codes from vulnerable telecom supplier systems. Among those victimised was a Newark, New Jersey supplier of telecoms services.

Pena used the alleged proceeds of crime to finance a comfortable lifestyle including real estate in Miami, a 40-foot boat and a BMW M3 car. He is due to appear before a judge on Tuesday before an arraignment scheduled for 23 October before US District Judge Susan D Wigenton, who has been assigned the case.

“This extradition represents the continued success of the United States in working with foreign countries to bring alleged cyber criminals to justice,” said US Attorney Paul J Fishman in a statement on the case. “No one should feel free and comfortable from prosecution or detection merely by being in another country.” ®

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