Tony Perez III, of Hammond, Indiana, pleaded guilty to the charges on April 4. In his plea, Perez said he sold counterfeit credit cards encoded with stolen account information. Perez found customers through criminal "carding forums," Internet discussion groups set up to aid in the buying and selling of stolen financial account information and related services.
When the US Secret Service raided his apartment in June 2010, they found data for 21,000 stolen credit cards and equipment needed to encode them onto blank cards. Credit card companies said losses from the card numbers in Perez's possession topped more than $3 million.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Liam O'Grady of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ordered Perez to pay $2.8 million in restitution and a $250,000 fine.