Colombian man sentenced for computer fraud

A Colombian man who used keylogging software in a lucrative identity theft scheme has been sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of US$347,000 (£174,764).

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A Colombian man who used keylogging software in a lucrative identity theft scheme has been sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of US$347,000 (£174,764).

Mario Simbaqueba Bonilla, 40, pleaded guilty in US federal court in January to conspiracy, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

His scheme, which he carried out alone and with a co-conspirator between 2004 and 2007, had more than 600 victims worldwide, including employees of the US Department of Defense, according to the Department of Justice.

Bonilla installed keylogging software on hotel business-centre computers and internet lounges in order to steal passwords and other personal data. Then he and his partner used complex computer intrusion methods to steal money from accounts.

After transferring the money to credit and debit cards or cash, Bonilla used it to buy electronics and pay for luxury travel to Hong Kong, France, Jamaica, the US and other places, according to the Justice Department. The court pegged the actual and attempted losses from the scheme at $1.4 million (£705,000).

Bonilla was arrested by federal agents last August when he flew into the US with a laptop, purchased with stolen funds, that contained personal and financial information on more than 600 people.

In addition to the prison term and restitution, Bonilla was sentenced to three years of supervised release after his release.

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