Vietnamese sentenced to 13 years in US for $2m identity theft

Thanh Nien News

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Ngo Minh Hieu's passport. File photo Ngo Minh Hieu's passport. File photo


A trial in the US on Tuesday sentenced a Vietnamese to 13 years in jail for hacking into US firms’ computers to steal personal information of nearly 200 million US citizens for sale.
The US Department of Justice said in a statement on its website that Ngo Minh Hieu, 25, was sentenced under federal charges of wire fraud, identity fraud, access device fraud, computer fraud and abuse.
Hieu pleaded guilty of hacking into the computers of businesses in New Jersey.
Between 2007 and 2013, he used online black markets including and from Vietnam to offer to sell the stolen packages to around 1,300 cyber criminals throughout the world.
The packages included a person’s name, date of birth, social security number, bank account number and bank routing number, payment card number, address and phone number.
He made nearly $2 million from the scheme, under the nicknames hieupc and traztaz659, according to the trial.
The US Internal Revenue Service has confirmed that the information of 13,673 US citizens were used in the filing of $65 million in fraudulent individual income tax returns.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said: “Criminals buy and sell stolen identity information because they see it as a low-risk, high-reward proposition.”
The prosecution is one way to change that analysis, Caldwell said, cited in the department’s statement.
Cyber security site KrebsOnSecurity said Hieu pretended to be a private investigator to acquire the information from credit report provider Experian and its member company Court Ventures.
US agents lured him out of Vietnam over a business offer and arrested him in February 2013.

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