California “Vendor” in Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Organization Sentenced to More Than Eight Years in Prison

Oakland, California - A northern California man who served as an information and document vendor in the identity theft and credit card fraud ring known as “Carder.su” was sentenced yesterday to serve 100 months in federal prison.   He was further ordered to pay approximately $50.5 million in restitution.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Harris of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) in Las Vegas made the announcement.   U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon of the District of Nevada imposed the sentence.

“Carder.su is a criminal organization, and we used the same mob-busting laws and investigative techniques we’ve used with other organized crime networks to dismantle the fraud ring,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.   “The new face of organized crime is largely cyber-based, and this case demonstrates the department’s ability to pursue members of these organizations wherever we find them.”  

“The structure of the Carder.su organization was sophisticated and designed to prevent attack by rival organizations and to avoid detection by law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden.   “Its members had defined roles and were responsible for the theft of over $50 million.   We are working diligently with our law enforcement partners to ensure that the people who commit these high-tech crimes are put out of business.”

“As this multi-year sentence makes clear, individuals like this defendant who traffic in stolen identities and compromised credit card information should expect to face the full weight of the law,” said HSI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Harris. “This type of fraud has reached epidemic proportions and the economic fallout from these crimes affects us all.   HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to see that those involved are brought to justice.”

Makyl Haggerty, aka “Wave” and “G5,” 24, of Oakland, Calif., admitted in his plea agreement that in December 2009, he became associated with the Carder.su organization, a criminal enterprise whose members trafficked in compromised credit card account data and counterfeit identifications, and committed money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and various types of computer crime.   Specifically, Haggerty operated as a vendor on the organization’s websites using the “Wave” and “G5” nicknames, and sold approximately 1,000 counterfeit identification documents and counterfeit credit cards to other Carder.su members.   Haggerty manufactured and sold counterfeit driver’s licenses for at least 15 states and British Columbia.

Fifty-six individuals were charged in four separate indictments in Operation Open Market, which targeted the Carder.su organization.   To date, 25 individuals have been convicted and the rest are either fugitives or are pending trial.   Haggerty pleaded guilty in February to one count of participation in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization.

The cases were investigated by HSI and the U.S. Secret Service, and are being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jonathan Ophardt of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly M. Frayn and Andrew W. Duncan of the District of Nevada.

This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.   For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com .

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