A California man known by the Internet alias of 'Iceman' has been charged with operating an online scheme to steal and sell credit card and other confidential data belonging to tens of thousands of people.
Max Ray Butler, 35, of San Francisco, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on three counts of wire fraud and two counts of transferring stolen information.
The indictment alleges that from around June 2005 until his arrest on 5 September 2007, Butler, also known as Max Vision, hacked into secure computer systems connected to the Internet, including those located at banks and credit card processing centres, in order to steal card account information and other personal ID data that he could sell on to others.
According to a statement released by United States Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, federal authorities allege that Butler operated an online "carding scheme" by creating a Web site known as "Cardersmarket" for those engaged in the theft, use and sale of credit cards. The site enables users to communicate with one another and coordinate illegal activities. According to the indictment, Cardersmarket has thousands of members worldwide.
The indictment alleges that Butler sold tens of thousands of credit card numbers, including sales to an individual in the Western District of Pennsylvania on or about October 14 2006 and December 6 2006.
Butler, who also operated under other aliases including "Aphex", "Darkest" and "Digits", could face up to 70 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine if found guilty of all charges.
Butler has previously been convicted of hacking into government computers and was released from a federal prison five years ago.