Dutch Hacker Pleads Not Guilty in Seattle Court

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A Dutch citizen yesterday pled not guilty to charges related to the theft of over 44,000 credit card numbers.

"David Benjamin Schrooten, aka 'Fortezza,' is being targeted by federal prosecutors for allegedly hacking into computers and stealing massive amounts of credit card numbers," writes CNET News' Dara Kerr. "Once he obtained the numbers, he allegedly sold them in bulk quantities via different Web sites. The 44,000 is reportedly from just one sale."

"The suspect, arrested in Romania in March, was indicted on 14 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, intentional damage to a computer, and access device fraud," writes Softpedia's Eduard Kovacs.

"The federal indictment alleges Schrooten's scheme relied on the computer systems of commercial businesses and computer servers or networks of payment processors, which were hacked into and pilfered for valuable information," writes the Seattle Weekly's Matt Driscoll. "The indictment also alleges other carding websites were allegedly broken into, with databases containing stolen credit card numbers subsequently raided and the information sold on Schrooten's own carding websites."

"Seattle and federal authorities credited a local Italian restaurant owner for sparking the investigation," CBS News reports. "Corino Bonjrada said he became alarmed after several complaints from customers of suspicious charges after dining at Modello Risorante Italiano. Customers suspected his workers had taken their credit card information and used it, but Bonjrada found no evidence of that. He then called computer experts and eventually the police, he said."

"The successful arrest and extradition of David Benjamin Schrooten underscores the Secret Service and DHS's commitment to pursuing cybercriminals-both domestic and foreign," Secret Service Special Agent In Charge Jim Helminski said in a statement. "This case is a great example of the Secret Service's Electronic Crimes Task Force Program in action. The apprehension of Schrooten was the result of a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington, the Secret Service, and the Seattle Police Department."

"If found guilty of bank fraud, Schrooten faces up to 30 years in prison a $1 million fine," writes Business Insider's Mandi Woodruff.