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Former ci set to be sentenced for credit card fraud and identity theft

Posted on December 24, 2009 3:00 AM EST

A Miami man is set to appear for sentencing in federal court for one of the largest credit card fraud and identity theft cases in the country's history. Albert Gonzalez is charged with stealing in excess of 130 million credit card and debit card records from major retail chains. Gonzalez is scheduled to appear in federal court on December 29, 2009 to enter a guilty plea. He previously entered a guilty plea in another case where he is facing similar charges. Miami criminal lawyers have seen an upswing in the number of arrests made in the South Florida and Miami area for credit card fraud and identity theft.

After being arrested on the first case, Gonzalez agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in exchange for a lenient sentence. He worked for the Secret Service and his cooperation led to the arrest of many internet hackers. He also gave lectures in how to combat internet crime to the American banking Association, as well as to many federal law enforcement officers. While acting as a confidential informant he allegedly committed internet fraud by stealing millions of credit and debit card account numbers.

Gonzalez entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors where he can be sentenced between 17 and 25 years in prison. Under the plea agreement in the first case, he is facing between 15 and 25 years. The criminal defense attorney representing Gonzalez filed a formal sentencing memorandum seeking a 15 years sentence. The basis for the mitigation is that his clients suffers from a diminished mental capacity caused by Asperger's disorder, an internet addiction made worse by drug and alcohol abuse.

After he enters the guilty plea, a sentencing date will be set a couple of months out so the federal department of probation can draft a pre-sentence investigation report. Pre-sentence investigation reports are used by the judge, the defense and prosecution to allow the court to come up with what is deemed as a fair sentence. The report contains an individuals background and scores out a potential sentence based on the federal sentencing guidelines. The defense attorney has a right to object to any portion of the report. At the federal sentencing hearing the prosecution and defense will argue for specific sentences. At the conclusion of the arguments, a federal judge will hand down the sentence in conformity with the sentencing guidelines.

Hacker's Plea Deal Seeks a 17 to 25 Years in Prison for Theft, Business Week, December 23, 2009.
Categories: Fraud