Identity Theft Kingpin Gets Light JailTerm

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NEWARK, N.J. - (07/05/06) – The head of one of the broadestknown identity theft rings was sentenced last week to just 32months in prison, one of more than 20 participants convicted in thescheme so far. Twenty-four-year-old Andrew Mantovani was describedas the creator of, a web site that trafficked instolen financial information that helped participants create phonycredit cards or tap into thousands of credit union and bankaccounts. Using anonymous screen names like 'black ops,' 'knightrider,' 'dirty harry,' and 'kingpin,’ Mantovani maintainedand policed the site and determined who could join. The gang wasbusted after the U.S. Secret Service created its own phony websiteto lure the I.D. thieves and bring them into the open. More than 40suspects were eventually arrested under ‘OperationFirewall,’ which was authorized by a federal judge. TheShadowcrew trafficked in at least 1.7 million stolen credit unionand bank cards and caused more than $4 million in losses to dozensof credit unions and banks, the major card companies, likeMasterCard, Visa and American Express, and thousands ofindividuals, according to the Secret Service. U.S. District JudgeWilliam Martini, who sentenced Mantovani, said some of thedefendants viewed the scheme more like as game than a crime. Duringsentencing Mantonavi said after his serving his sentence he hopesto educate others about identity theft and cybercrime. “Toomany children out there, they do see it as a game,” he toldthe judge.

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