RealTime IT News

High Prison Time For Shadowcrew Culprit

Another member of the notorious Shadowcrew gang that specialized in online fraud is heading to jail.

Chad Hatten, 36, of Houston was sentenced Tuesday to 90 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal sentenced Hatten on four counts of access device fraud. He was also sentenced to 24 additional months for aggravated identity theft, which will be served consecutively with the access device fraud counts.

According to the Department of Justice, Hatton, who admitted to being a member of the gang, used the Shadowcrew Web site to assist with his credit card fraud activities.

He also purchased gift cards from retail stores using counterfeit credit cards and resold the gift cards at a discount.

In addition, Hatten was also charged with possessing equipment used to encode counterfeit credit cards with stolen numbers.

In November, Hatten entered a plea of guilty to a five-count superseding indictment charging him with four counts of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Internetnews.com profiled the Shadowcrew activities in a September 2002 story. Soon after that story appeared, members of Shadowcrew launched a Denial of Service attack against internetnews.com and demanded it be removed.

The story was not removed and officials of Jupitermedia contacted law enforcement officials who opened an investigation that eventually became known as Operation Firewall.

Two years later, U.S. Secret Service agents made 28 arrests in eight states and six countries stemming from its investigation.

Members of the Shadowcrew bulletin board openly discussed online fraud techniques and boasted they were safe from prosecution because they used anonymous remailers and proxies to hide their identities.

Before Secret Service agents shut down the operation, the Shadowcrew site trafficked in at least 1.5 million stolen credit and debit card numbers, causing losses in excess of $4 million to the issuing institutions.