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Press Release

Turkish National Extradited From The Republic Of Georgia Pleads Guilty To Computer Hacking And Credit Card Fraud Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Alper Erdogan (35, a Turkish citizen residing in Baku, Azerbaijan) today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer hacking, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Erdogan faces a maximum penalty of 14 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

Erdogan was originally indicted in September 2012.

According to the plea agreement, in September 2010, the United States Secret Service (USSS) learned that the computer servers of a hotel in San Diego, California had been hacked and that malicious software had stored credit card magnetic track data, which was then remotely accessed and eventually used at retail stores throughout the United States. In a series of prosecutions related to 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, and made in excess of $1.2 million in fraudulent credit card charges in about nine months, between June 2010 and the execution of federal search warrants in March 2011. During the course of the charged conspiracies, Erdogan provided individuals 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 individuals in the United States for the purpose of allowing them to commit fraud.

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 alleged in this case.

Dennis Ramos Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Orlando Field Office stated, “The Secret Service is committed to pursuing cybercrime cases.  There is no doubt that our economic vitality and national security depend on cyber security.  We are committed to these interests and will pursue cyber criminals regardless of where they may be physically located on the globe.” 

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance with the extradition. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Irick.

Updated January 26, 2015