Convictions for Internet Crimes Can Bring Long Sentences

In the past few weeks, reports have emerged of data breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus and other retailers. Most of these reports have focused on how these events impact consumers, with little attention paid to possible penalties for those convicted of these sorts of crimes. As demonstrated by several cases in 2013, a conviction for some Internet crimes can carry the possibility of years behind bars.

In many cases, investigations of Internet crimes can take years. Once arrests have been made, many in the public have forgotten the incidence of the initial crime. In 2013, prosecutors won convictions of many individuals for a wide variety of cybercrimes. Although these convictions may not garner headlines, they prove that authorities are serious about finding and punishing those who take part in fraud, identity theft and other crimes.

In September of last year, the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire sentenced two Romanian men to multiple years in prison for their roles in a hacking scheme. From 2009 to 2012, Adrian-Tiberiu Oprea and Iulian Dolan hacked into the point of sale systems of fast food franchises. They stole the credit card data of nearly 100,000 people and stole $27.5 million. Oprea received a 15 year sentence and Dolan received a seven year sentence.

In November of last year, 28 year old Jeremy Hammond received a 10 year sentence for multiple instances where he hacked into computer systems to steal confidential information from government law enforcement agencies and the credit card information of approximately 60,000 people. In addition to hacking into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Virtual Academy, Hammond also broke into systems belonging to the Boston Police Patrolman's Association and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. According to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, Hammond used the credit card data to make $700,000 in fraudulent charges. Although he pleaded guilty, Hammond denies using the credit card data and says that his activities were intended for the public good.

As an increasing number of consumers are impacted by these sorts of crimes, law enforcement agencies are likely to step up efforts to find and prosecute those responsible. As these two cases demonstrate, convictions may bring years, even decades, in prison.

If you are currently under investigation for fraud, identity theft or another Internet crime, it is important to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights.