Possible Five Years for Phishing Scam Chief

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After our earlier post on the DarkMarket scammer being locked up for being a very naughty boy, we continue the ‘internet bad boys heading for the slammer’ theme with a story of how ‘shit just got real’ for Cornel Ionut Tonita, a Romanian national who is facing five years in a US prison for a phishing operation.

How Will Smith and Martin Lawrence might have looked when ‘taking down’ Cornel Ionut Tonita.

Tonita pleaded guilty to a charge related to a phishing scam that sought to defraud customers of banks such as Citibank and Wells Fargo, and of websites such as eBay.

The Chicago Tribune reports that “Tonita and another Romanian, Petru Belbita, were accused of setting up fake Web sites in order to steal passwords and sensitive financial information. They also were allegedly passing payment card details to others who would then make fraudulent cards.

They add that Tonita admitted using software to collect email addresses in order to send spam that would then try to entice people into browsing one of the fake websites. Prosecutors alleged he sent a file with 9,811 e-mail addresses to another co-conspirator.

He was arrested in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in July 2009 and extradited to the US and his arrest was part of a “sweeping bust”, as the Tribune put it, in May 2008 by US and Romanian authorities that led to charges against around 40 people, all of whom had ties to organized crime.

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