US cyber-thief gets 20-year jail term

Computer keyboard The jail term is one of the longest ever handed to a computer criminal

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A US cyber-thief who helped run a website that dealt in stolen credit cards has been jailed for 20 years.

David Ray Camez was one of the key members of the carder.su website that was shut down in 2010 by US law enforcement authorities.

Initially sentenced to seven years in jail, Camez's term was lengthened after he was found guilty of breaking US racketeering laws.

In addition, he has been ordered to pay $20m (£11.9m) in damages.

"Camez was a member of a vast criminal organization that facilitated rampant cyber fraud throughout the world," said the US Department of Justice in a statement. The jail sentence is believed to be one of the longest ever handed to a computer criminal.

Camez and his co-conspirators used Carder.su to traffic stolen payment cards and identities, said the DoJ. Agents from the Homeland Security Investigations unit infiltrated the site prior to it being shut down.

About 5,500 people were regular users and members of Carder.su, it said, adding that these people are believed to have carried out card crime that caused about $50m in losses for many different card and payment firms.

Those in charge of Carder.su used the site's chat forums to recruit and educate people about computer and card fraud and it was this aspect of the site that led to the racketeering charges.

In the past the racketeering laws have been used by US investigators to target senior members of organised crime gangs who typically only direct the crimes of lower ranking members.

Camez is one of 39 people charged in connection with their involvement with Carder.su. Of those, 21 are also expected to face 20 years in jail for racketeering after pleading guilty. Others will face shorter jail terms for lesser offences.

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