A Miami man who admitted in September that he stole 40 million credit and debit card records pleaded guilty this week in federal court in Boston to a second, bigger computer hacking offense.
Albert Gonzalez pleaded guilty to charges that he stole data on 130 million credit and debit cards from Heartland Payment Systems Inc., 7-Eleven Inc., Delhaize Group's Hannaford Brothers Co. and two unnamed national retailers. Gonzalez was indicted in New Jersey, and the case was transferred to Boston this month.
"He wants finality, and he regrets what he did with his skills," defense attorney Martin Weinberg told reporters after the hearing before U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock.
Under a plea agreement filed Dec. 16, Gonzalez will not seek a prison term of less than 17 years, and prosecutors will not ask for more than 25 years. Woodlock set a March 19 preliminary sentencing date, one day after Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced for the September guilty plea.
Gonzalez pleaded guilty in September to charges filed in New York and Boston and admitted he led an international ring that stole credit and debit card records from U.S. retailers, including TJX Cos., OfficeMax Inc. and BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. Under this plea agreement, Gonzalez would serve from 15 to 25 years and forfeit more than $1.65 million.