Turkish Man Extradited From The Republic Of Georgia Sentenced To More Than Nine Years For Computer Hacking And Identity Theft
Orlando, Florida – Senior U.S. District Judge John Antoon, II sentenced Alper Erdogan (35, a Turkish citizen residing in Baku, Azerbaijan) to nine years and four months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit computer hacking, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, and aggravated identity theft. In February 2014, Erdogan was extradited from the Republic of Georgia, where he had travelled from Azerbaijan, to the United States to face the charges contained in the indictment in this case. Erdogan was initially indicted in September 2012. He pleaded guilty on April 18, 2014. He was sentenced on July 25, 2014.
According to the plea agreement, in September 2010, the United States Secret Service learned that the computer servers of a hotel in San Diego had been hacked and malicious software had stored credit card magnetic track data that was then remotely accessed and, eventually, used at retail stores throughout the United States. In a series of prosecutions related to the United States v. Chad Warner et al., the government prosecuted and secured convictions against 17 individuals who used the stolen credit card numbers in the United States.
As the investigation progressed, agents learned that the conspirators in the United States purchased the stolen credit card account numbers from Erdogan who was then located in Azerbaijan. Erdogan made in excess of $1.2 million in fraudulent credit card charges between June 2010 and the execution of federal search warrants in March 2011. During the course of the charged conspiracies, Erdogan provided criminals throughout the United States with thousands of stolen and hacked credit card numbers and the personal information of Americans. In doing so, Erdogan entered into a conspiracy with hackers located in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Erdogan perpetrated his offenses and communicated with his conspirators solely over the Internet; acting as a broker and providing the stolen and hacked information to criminals in the United States for the purpose of allowing them to commit fraud using that information.
“United States citizens are increasingly the victims of computer hacking, identity theft, and credit card fraud committed by individuals residing in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and elsewhere. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to pursuing these individuals wherever they might be and extraditing them to the United States for prosecution,” stated U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III. Dennis Ramos Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service Orlando Field Office stated,
“The Secret Service is committed in pursuing cybercrime cases. There is no doubt that our economic vitality and national security depend on cybersecurity. We are committed to these interests and will pursue cyber criminals regardless of where on the globe they may be physically located. Our ongoing partnerships with state, local and international agencies and through a greater understanding of how the criminal world operates and thrives, and what we do together to secure our nation and communities from this threat will have a profound impact on future generations.”
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. It was being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Irick.