One of the largest stories involves Albert Gonzales, the first hacker in history to be convicted to twenty years in prison. With the help of some associates, he was able to steal 90 million credit and debit cards from TJ Maxx (TJX) and other retailers.
Gonzales committed his crimes between 2005 and 2008. Ironically, he was hired as a U.S. Secret Service informant which earned him $75,000 annually during that time frame. The Secret Service was unaware of his activities until 2008.
The hacker called his scheme “Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin'." To steal the debit and credit card information, he used a packet sniffer to obtain transaction data directly from retailers. The data was routed to servers leased in the Ukraine and Latvia. He then distributed the information to Maksym Yastranskiy, a Ukrainian card seller. Yastranskiy was later captured in Turkey in 2007. Information seized from Yastranskiy was used to build a cyber crime case against Albert Gonzalez.
After his arrest in May 2008, Gonzalez tried to plea computer addiction and Asperger’s disorder, which were dismissed by the court. In addition to his lengthy prison sentence, he was also fined $25,000. The judge on the case noted that a restitution order will be set at a future hearing. It is rumored that the amount will be in the millions.
For a more detailed look at this particular case, read this article on Albert Gonzalez.