A major credit card hacker has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for stealing close to 2 million credit card numbers.
May Ray Butler's wire fraud case has resulted in about $86 million in losses for banks all over the country.
Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill Jr., who presided over the case, has also ordered him to pay $27.5 million in restitution.
The 37-year-old San Francisco native, who calls himself 'Mr. Vision', pleased guilty to charges pressed against him last summer. He admitted to using encryption software to hack into data canters and financial institutions from California.
With other online aliases such as 'Iceman', and 'Digits', Butler has been under federal custody since 2007 after US Secret Service agents raided his San Francisco apartment.
Butler penned a letter to Judge Cohill saying that being sentenced to more jail time would not 'serve any purpose.' He also requested to be set free from jail so that he could use his hacking expertise to 'help people.' In the same letter, he expressed much remorse for his criminal behavior with 'a lot of regret'. He also admitted that he had lost the sensitivity to conduct himself as a responsible and legally accountable member of society, which he said was the biggest factor of his downfall.
Although he was initially charged with up to 30 years of incarceration, a 'lighter sentence' was requested since he had cooperated with the investigation efforts of federal agents.
The prosecution was formalized in Pittsburgh since two informants in the area collaborated with the Secret Service to bring down the hacking operation.
Along with accomplice Christopher Aragon, 'Mr. Vision' created 'CardersMarket.' This was an online forum intended to steal identity information and credit card accounts.
The operation was lead by 'Mr. Vision' who gave several card numbers to Mr. Aragon, who in turn encoded the information 'onto plastic cards' and used them to purchase several merchandize. The other cards were sold to interested buyers online.
In September 2007, Secret Service agents searched the apartment where the hacking operating was based. About 1.8 million stolen credit card accounts were found on the hacker's computer. These same cards were used for an estimated $86.3 million worth of fraudulent transactions. As of press time, Mr. Aragon's verdict is still pending in a court in California.
The defense attorneys contended that the loss figures reported by the government were 'inflated' because some of the credit accounts actually originated from other hackers, whom Mr. Vision had no personal contact with.