Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/08/bank_insider_data_theft/

Bank of America insider admits he stole sensitive customer data

Account balances under $100,000 need not apply

By Dan Goodin

Posted in Security, 8th June 2010 23:57 GMT

An employee in one of Bank of America's customer call centers has admitted he stole sensitive account information and tried to sell it for cash.

Brian Matty Hagen said he met with two individuals whom he later learned were undercover FBI agents and offered to sell them names, dates of birth, telephonic passwords, and other details for Bank of America customers, according to court records. He met with them at a restaurant in Sun City, Florida, where he told them he was looking for accomplices who knew how to milk the accounts by establishing phony credit cards in the customers' names or through other means.

At first, Hagen demanded at least half of the resulting take, but later was talked down to 25 percent. He demanded he be paid in cash and said he'd only deal with accounts that had balances exceeding $100,000.

Last week, he pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a $1m fine. Prosecutors agreed to recommend a much lower sentence in exchange for his cooperation.

Hagen was able to access the private data using his position as a call center attendant. When one customer identified by the initials E.H.S. called to find out if automatic payments to a Netflix account had been stopped, Hagen captured the customer's data and turned it over to the undercover fed. E.H.S. had a balance of almost $445,000. He told the agent he planned to keep working at Bank of America even after the money was stolen.

The incident is a reminder of the threats banks and other sensitive organizations face from insiders. Prosecutors said potential losses to Bank of America exceeded $1.3m. ®