Vietnamese man gets 13 years for massive ID theft scheme

Ngo was connected to a 200-million record data breach at a credit monitoring firm

A Vietnamese man linked to a data breach of 200 million personal records at a subsidiary of credit monitoring firm Experian has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Hieu Minh Ngo, 25, was sentenced Tuesday on charges including wire fraud and identity fraud in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, the DOJ said.

Ngo was linked to a data breach at Court Ventures, a data broker Experian purchased in 2012.

Ngo apparently tricked Court Ventures into giving him access to a personal records database by posing as a private investigator from Singapore, according to news reports. Much of the information about the breach came out when he pleaded guilty to multiple charges in March 2014 in the New Hampshire court.

Ngo was arrested in Guam in February 2013, according to court documents. He had been selling personal information, including credit card numbers and Social Security numbers, since 2007, and had about 1,300 customers at the time of his arrest, according to court information. Ngo allowed his customers to make more than 3 million queries of the database compromised through Court Ventures.

From Vietnam, Ngo sold stolen identities of U.S. residents through online marketplaces to "more than a thousand cybercriminals scattered throughout the world," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the DOJ said in a statement. "Criminals buy and sell stolen identity information because they see it as a low-risk, high-reward proposition. Identifying and prosecuting cybercriminals like Ngo is one of the ways we're working to change that cost-benefit analysis."

As part of his guilty plea, Ngo told the DOJ that he operated online marketplaces selling personal information from 2007 to 2013. These packages of personal information, known as "fullz," typically included a person's name, date of birth, Social Security number, bank account number and bank routing number. Ngo also acquired and sold stolen payment card data, including credit card numbers, expiration dates and owners' addresses and phone numbers, the DOJ said.

Ngo made nearly US$2 million from selling personal information, the DOJ said. More than 13,000 U.S. residents whose personal data was sold on Ngo's websites were victims when criminals filed $65 million in fraudulent individual income tax returns, the DOJ said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacycybercrimelegalU.S. Department of JusticeExperianHieu Minh NgoLeslie Caldwell

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?