Six members of an underground Web site that trafficked in stolen credit card data have pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy.
The online 'shadowcrew' marketplace operated by the defendants was taken down in October 2004 by the US Secret Service, closing an illicit business that trafficked in at least 1.5 million stolen credit and bank card numbers that resulted in losses in excess of $4 million.
The six defendants are among 21 US citizens charged by the Secret Service following the bust last year. To date, twelve have pleaded guilty. A further seven individuals were arrested in foreign countries.
Of yesterday's pleas, 23-year old Andrew Mantovani of Scottsdale, Arizona, also pleaded guilty to a second charge of illegal ID transfer after admitting to obtaining approximately 18 million e-mail accounts with associated addresses and birth dates.
Mantovani was a co-founder of the group, which used phishing and spamming to illegally obtain credit and bank card information for use in making purchses online. Some of the merchandise obtained in this way was then sold on through E-Bay.
Both the conspiracy and unlawful transfer counts carry maximum prison sentences of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000.