Indian-origin hacker gets 51 months jail for computer fraud in US

New York: A 38-year-old Indian-origin hacker from Virginia was sentenced to more than four years in prison for hacking into computers and stealing customer credit card numbers.

Chirag Patel from Norfolk pleaded guilty to computer fraud and was sentenced by US District Judge G Murray Snow to 51 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

He also was ordered to pay $87,522.25 in restitution, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said on Monday.

According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), between August 2017 and July 2020, Patel hacked into the Phoenix-based computers of an international hospitality company on numerous occasions.

He then fraudulently transferred and redeemed customer reward points from the company’s customer loyalty program.

In addition, Patel also stole credit card numbers and other personally identifying information (PII) from customers and loyalty program members, which were stored in the company’s computers.

Patel took screenshots of customers’ and members’ information, which included credit card numbers and other PII, and saved the screenshots to a Google Drive he controlled.

In total, between August 2017 and July 2020, Patel stole and possessed more than 1,200 credit card numbers, the FBI investigation found.

He used some of the stolen credit card numbers to make unauthorized purchases and also tried to sell some of the stolen credit card numbers.


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