Albert Gonzalez, the hacker whose electronic thievery cost credit unions and other card issuers millions of dollars when he hit the card processor Heartland Payment Systems, received a sentence of twenty years and a day for the Heartland hack attacks.
The card processor has never revealed exactly how many credit card accounts were compromised in the attack, but industry experts have estimated that the incident may have been the biggest compromise of card data so far.
The details of Gonzalez' hacking activities made the sentencing complicated. U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris, in Boston, sentenced Gonzalez, 28, to 20 years and a day for his role in some of the major hacks. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodcock in the Eastern District of New York sentenced Gonzalez to 20 years and a day for his role in the Heartland hack and others.
Under plea agreements the sentences will run concurrently and Gonzalez was fined $25,000, according to court documents.
"Technology has virtually erased geographic boundaries and changed the way we do business," said U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, commenting on the sentences. "As we have seen with this case, even with the increasing complexity of network intrusions, it remains difficult for criminals to remain anonymous. The Secret Service continues to seek new and innovative ways to combat emerging cyber threats. Our success in this case and similar investigations is a result of our close work with our worldwide network of law enforcement partners."