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Five Charged in Largest US Credit Theft

U.S. authorities have charged five foreign nationals with credit-card theft resulting in more than $300 million in losses for companies in the United States and Europe.

In what they described as the country's largest hacking fraud case in history, federal prosecutors charged four Russians and a Ukrainian in a New Jersey court.

The men are accused of stealing 160 million credit and debit card numbers from mid-2005 to last July.

The hacking ring sold the payment card numbers to resellers, who then sold them online and to "cashers" who encode the numbers onto blank plastic cards that are used to purchase goods or withdraw money from automatic teller machines in what is known as a debit card dump.

Two of the men charged are in custody. Dmitriy Smilianets is being held in the United States and Vladimir Drinkman is in the Netherlands pending extradition.



Victims include Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., Visa Inc., Dow Jones Inc., J.C. Penney Co., JetBlue Airways Corp., Wet Seal Inc., 7-Eleven Inc., and Carrefour SA.

Customers' log-in credentials were also stolen from the Nasdaq, but prosecutors say its trading platform was not affected.





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