After having been arrested last September and having been detained in custody ever since, 31-year-old Barrett Brown has finally been indicted for possessing and transmitting credit card data stolen in Anonymous’ Stratfor hack.
The former Anonymous spokesman who publicly left the collective last May, has not ben charged for taking part in the actual hack, but for “trafficking in stolen authentication features”, “access device fraud”, and “aggravated identity theft”.
The indictment alleges that on December 25, 2011, Brown has “knowingly trafficked in more than five authentication features, knowing that such features were stolen and produced without lawful authority,” by transferring a hyperlink from an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel to an IRC channel under his control.
“That hyperlink provided access to data stolen from the company Stratfor Global Intelligence (Stratfor), which included more than 5,000 credit card account numbers, the card holders’ identification information and the authentication features for the credit cards, known as the Card Verification Values (CVV). By transferring and posting the hyperlink, Brown caused the data to be made available to other persons online, without the knowledge and authorization of Stratfor and the card holders,” says in the press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas.
In the months following, he also allegedly possessed at least fifteen or more stolen credit card account numbers and CVVs without the knowledge and authorization of the card holders, and unlawfully transferred and possessed the CVVs, the card holders’ names and usernames for online account access, and the card holders’ physical address, phone numbers and email addresses.
“The trafficking count carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and the access device fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Each of the aggravated identity theft counts, upon conviction, carries a mandatory two-year sentence in addition to any sentence imposed on the trafficking count,” states the press release. “In addition, a fine of up to $250,000 may be imposed on each count of conviction. Restitution could also be ordered.”