An Azusa man was arrested this morning on federal charges that allege he sent thousands of e-mails to America Online users that appeared to be from AOL’s Billing Department and prompted the subscribers to send personal and credit card information, which was later used by the defendant to make unauthorized credit and debit card purchases.
Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 45, was charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday with operating a sophisticated “phishing” scheme an Internet-based scam designed to obtain personal information by tricking people into believing that they are providing their information to a legitimate business. Goodin, who is expected to make his first court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles, is specifically charged with wire fraud and the unauthorized use of an access device (credit card).
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint Goodin used several email accounts to send e-mails to AOL users. Those e-mails appeared to be from AOL’s billing department, urged the subscribers to “update” their AOL billing information or lose service, and referred them to one of several fraudulent Internet websites where they could input personal information, including name, address, AOL account information, and credit or debit card data. Goodin, who allegedly controlled those websites, used the fraudulently obtained information to make unauthorized charges on the credit or debit cards belonging to the duped AOL subscribers.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of the two offenses alleged in the complaint, Goodin faces a maximum possible penalty of 30 years in federal prison.
This case was investigated by the Electronic Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service. The Task Force received substantial assistance from the Ontario Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Brian Hoffstadt
Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section