International Cards Ring FigureCollared

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SAN DIEGO - (11/18/05) -- An important figure in aninternational credit card fraud was sentenced to seven years injail this week for his role in a scheme that targeted area creditunions and banks. James Hopper pleaded guilty to eight felonycounts just three weeks after he was arrested at a routine trafficstop and police discovered hundreds of blank credit cards in hiscar. The San Diego Police Computer and Technology Hi-TechCrimes--or CATCH--Unit, said Hopper is a key figure in aninternational ring that collects the personal financial informationof Americans and provides it to U.S. accomplices for themanufacture of counterfeit credit cards. The CATCH unit also foundthat Hopper had obtained the algorithm code for more than 200credit unions and banks to write second tract encryption into phonycredit and ATM cards. Police found blank credit cards, an embossingmachine, victim profiles and hundreds of fake drivers licenses whenthey raided Hopper's home, according to Gail Stewart, spokesman forthe San Diego Police. Hopper pleaded guilty as part of a pleabargain Wednesday to eight counts, including unlawful access tocredit activities, identity theft and possession of fraudulentdrivers licenses and was sentenced to seven years in prison, shetold The Credit Union Journal.

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